New Minister Candidate Procedure
Please read the following instructions carefully to understand the requirements for becoming an ordained Sikh Dharma Interational Minister.
The information provided during the Candidate’s application process will be kept as part of the Candidate’s permanent record with the Office of the Secretary of Religion. Upon completion of the application and successful completion of the Minister approval process, the Candidate will be granted permission to take Minister Vows.
NOTE: The New Minister Candidate procedure must be completed at least one month prior to a Candidate taking vows. Please note that this procedure may be updated from time to time.
Requirements for a Minister Candidate
Prior to applying to become a Minister Candidate you must have taken Sikh Vows and/or Amrit and have been living as a Sikh for three years following Sikh Vows and/or Amrit. The exception to these criteria is someone who has been living as a Sikh for at least the previous five years but has not yet taken Sikh Vows and/or Amrit. In this case, the Candidate must wait one year after taking Sikh Vows and/or Amrit before applying. A suggested course at this time for potential Minister candidates is Journey into the Heart of Sikh Dharma.
Step 1: Submitting Your Candidate Application
To initiate the New Minister Candidate process, submit the following to the Secretary of Religion:
- A formal letter of request stating your intention to be a Minister Candidate and a statement that you meet the prerequisites to be a Minister Candidate, as stated above (please include the dates of Sikh Vows and/or Amrit and when you first began living as a Sikh). Please sign and date this letter. Provide your spiritual name, legal name and birth name, the name you are currently using, place of birth, date of birth, address, phone, and email.
- Provide a resume or professional vitae if possible.
- A current passport-style photo (men in full white turban, women in white turban and chuni).
- A signed and dated copy of our Affadavit for Minister Candidate.
You may send all the above materials by email to [email protected] or send by mail to:
The Office of the Secretary of Religion
Sikh Dharma International Ministry
P.O. Box 1382
Espanola, NM 87532 USA
A background check may be conducted on the Candidate. The Candidate will sign an Affidavit attesting to their fitness to be a Sikh Dharma Minister. Any statements shown to be false could lead to a Candidate’s Ministership being denied or revoked. The Affadavit may be submitted via email, but must be signed by the applicant.
Step 2: Minister Recommendations
After your application has been received and acknowledged by the Secretary of Religion, the next step is to receive recommendations from five Ministers in Good Standing (by submitting our electronic form). These recommenders will constitute a “Panj” for the candidate.
Recommendation Instructions: Recommenders must complete and submit the Minister Candidate Recommendation Form. This is an electronic form that allows Minister recommenders to answer the required questions and digitally sign and submit the document to the Secretary of Religion. (Do not send a copy to the Candidate). If desired, the form can be filled in, signed, printed, and mailed, or emailed to the Secretary of Religion.
As a Candidate, you may wish to send this request to the Ministers you are asking to recommend you:
“Sat Nam. I am requesting you, as a Sikh Dharma Minister, to complete a recommendation for my candidacy as a Sikh Dharma Minister. To do so, please use the electronic Recommendation Form for a Sikh Dharma Minister Candidate to answer the required questions to be signed and submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Religion. You can access this electronic form at: https://sdministry.org/recommendation-form-for-a-sikh-dharma-minister-candidate Your timely response is appreciated. Blessings to you for your service.”
Who Is a Qualified Recommender? A qualified recommender must be an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister in Good Standing/Current in all annual Minister requirements. For a list of all Ministers, please click here for our Sikh Dharma International Minister Directory. Ministers who are listed as Not Current may send a recommendation, but they must contact [email protected] to update their Minister status (complete their annual Minister requirements) to be eligible to be a recommender.
Minister Centers: If the Candidate lives in or near a Minister Center (see below), the five recommendations must be from Ministers from that Center.
Minister Centers: Espanola, NM; Eugene, OR; Herndon, VA; Los Angeles, CA; Millis, MA; New York City/Brooklyn/Long Island; Phoenix, AZ; and San Francisco, CA.
Exception – If the Candidate has lived in a Minister Center for less than two years, then two of the recommendations may come from Sikh Dharma Ministers from the candidate’s previous Minister Center. If the Candidate did not previously live in a Center, then the five recommendations can be from any current Sikh Dharma Ministers. If the Candidate does not live in a Minister Center, then all five recommendations can be from any current Sikh Dharma Ministers (including Ministers from a previous Minister Center).
Central Section of Khalsa Council – MSS Guruka Singh Khalsa, MSS Guru Singh Khalsa, MSS Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa, MSS Krishna Kaur Khalsa, MSS Nirvair Singh Khalsa, SS Dr. Soram Singh Khalsa, MSS Tarn Taran Singh Khalsa.
Step 3: Interview and Essay
Upon receiving all five qualified Recommendation Forms for the Candidate, the Secretary of Religion will contact the Candidate. The Secretary of Religion may also contact the recommenders for additional information. The Secretary of Religion will set up an appointment to meet with the Minister Candidate in order to conduct a telephone, online, or in-person interview.
Following the interview—provided there are no serious concerns about this Candidate becoming a Minister or an identified need for additional self-development—the Secretary of Religion will assign the Candidate an essay question to be completed by the Candidate in writing. This essay needs to be dated, signed, and submitted to the Secretary of Religion. Essays may be sent via email but must be signed and dated.
Step 4: Final Approval and Minister Vows
Upon receipt and review of the submitted essay, the Secretary of Religion will be responsible for the final approval of the applicant as a Minister of Sikh Dharma. Upon approval, the Secretary of Religion will inform the Candidate in writing that he/she has been approved.
Arrangements will then be made for the Minister Candidate to take Sikh Dharma Minister Vows at Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, or the European Yoga Festival. If there are special circumstances as to when and where the candidate may take vows, those details will be worked out with the Secretary of Religion.
Note: During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are making arrangements for Minister ordination to take place in a virtual setting. When you are approved to take Minister vows, we will work with you as a Candidate to set up a time and place to be ordained through a virtual medium (Zoom).
Step 5: Complete New Minister Information Packet and Pay One-Time Fee
After taking Minister vows, in order to complete the Candidate process and officially become a Sikh Dharma Minister, the Candidate must complete a New Minister Information packet. The packet will contain instructions for submitting a Minister data sheet, ID photos, signature card, signed Minister Vows, Minister Doce of Ethics, and a one-time New Minister fee of $108.00 US.
Upon remitting all of the above, the New Minister will receive his/her Minister’s Identification Card, ordination letter, and an ordination certificate.
There is an annual renewal process for all Sikh Dharma Ministers and new ID cards are issued from Baisakhi Day to Baisakhi Day (April 14). Ministers receive annual renewal reminders starting in late January and early February each year.
(New Minister Candidate Procedures – updated 4-16-2021)