What is Interfaith?
What is Interfaith?
Interfaith is not a standalone religion. In fact it is not a new religion or indeed an old one, indeed it is not a religion at all. Rather it is a means of traversing between different religious traditions. Interfaith begins when we create a bridge between one set of beliefs and traditions and another.
Interfaith involves constructing a connection between disparate sets of beliefs and customs. Occupying the spiritual field in between the different religious traditions, touching all but adhering to none. Overtime it has evolved it has grown to cater for people of all faiths and none.
What is an Interfaith Minister?
An Interfaith Minister, at their best, should be someone who approaches everyone, regardless of their beliefs or practices, with a receptive spirit and mentality, without judgement. One who turns towards all, with an open heart and mind. Offering a mirror to their own wholeness and their own divinity. Ideally providing a reflection of the individual’s completeness and sacredness.
This means that in our work we are not focussed on any one tradition, religious or not. We focus on the beliefs and values of individuals. Taking the best from everything and everyone, we see you as you are.
Our role as Interfaith Ministers is to guide individuals in exploring their religious experiences and beliefs. Creating ceremonies to cultivate a sense of interconnectedness and inclusiveness. We do not discriminate. We believe in the joy and worth of all and each and every family no matter how they present. Dialogue should move humbly, with respect, toward a community. A world where differences are enriching rather than threatening.
We honour traditions from all faiths and none. We incorporate cultures with reverence be that religious or indigenous. This makes us uniquely equipped to conduct personalised and meaningful wedding ceremonies. This honour a couple’s unique background, beliefs, and values, regardless of their religious or spiritual affiliation.
So Where did OneSpirit Interfaith Spring from?
Interfaith started in the 1970’s in the US as a bridge between different religious traditions. Over time it has grown to cater for people of all faiths and none. The New Seminary was founded by Rabbi Joseph Gelberman in New York. Later Miranda McPherson travelled to the UK and in 1996 OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation was established as an educational charity located in London.
Offering comprehensive training programs to compassionate adults and allowing individuals to explore interfaith ministry, spiritual leadership, sacred activism, spiritual counselling, and various faith paths across the world. OneSpirit Interfaith’s mission is to promote the emergence of a universal, all-encompassing spirituality that embraces diversity in our communities. By educating and empowering individuals to serve people of all faiths allows the awakening of a global, inclusive spirituality within ourselves and the world.
Many individuals from Ireland travelled to the UK for training and later training was provided in Ireland by OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation. This facilitated many new Ministers being ordained and ceremonies have been provided in Ireland since 2008 by OneSpirit Ministers.
With such success in recent times OneSpirit Ireland grew from the good work of previous Ministers operating in Ireland.
Who Are OneSpirit Ireland?
We are a unique spiritual community that offers a bridge between different religious traditions. OneSpirit Ireland are a group of ordained ministers, based all throughout Ireland with a desire to serve our communities and individual people with open hearts.
We honour and cultivate a deep respect for the wisdom traditions of the world. As Interfaith Ministers, we are uniquely positioned to facilitate dialogue and promote harmony between different faiths and belief systems and those with none at all.
We understand that harmony exists on a spectrum, and our role as Interfaith Ministers can range from facilitating conversations to alleviate hostilities, to guiding individuals on a deep dive into their religious experiences in order to cultivate a sense of interconnectedness. No one faith, tradition, culture or people have a monopoly on truth.
We are trained to provide a wide range of ceremonies, including legal marriages, naming ceremonies, funerals and ceremony to anyone that has meaning. This means that in our work we are not focussed on any one ceremony or tradition, religious or not, but on the beliefs and values of individuals. We can take the best from everything and everyone. We see you as you are. Now we are a community of over 100 ministers active in Ireland in very diverse ministries.
What if you are Not Religious?
Don’t worry, we cater for people of all faiths and none. We believe and recognize that people may not be religious but they do have core values and secular beliefs that are the foundation stones for living life. This brings depth to personality and relationships. With Interfaith, you can embrace your unique spirituality and connect with others who share your values and discover your own wholeness and divinity. We believe in the goodness of each individual and loving kindness.
Differences between people should not be threatening, but enriching. Therefore differences should not be manipulated by those who want to sow fear, hatred and violence. Our goal should be to move humbly to a place of understanding, respect, tolerance and peace. Homogenized unity should be possibly just for milk cartons and not people. Harmony exists on a spectrum.
What Kind of Ceremonies do Interfaith Ministers perform?
In our diverse world, mixed marriages are increasingly common. Blended families are also becoming the norm. Main stream religions such as Roman Catholic for example have real difficulty providing wedding ceremonies for those individuals who may be legally divorced or serving our LGBTQ+ community.
In fact Ireland was the first country to allow same sex marriage by way of popular vote. In essence this means that at heart Irish people are tolerant and embrace minorities. OneSpirit Ministers offer ceremony to individuals regardless of religious or spiritual conviction. Experiences and concepts can be shared across different faiths and belief systems.
We believe that couples who wish to marry should have the opportunity to marry in a ceremony of choice with real choices. Have choices in the music, readings and all elements of their wedding ceremony. The couple should be able to celebrate their union by having real involvement where they have children and stepchildren and any other members of a blended family.
As Interfaith Ministers we are uniquely equipped to honour and incorporate traditions from all faiths and none with reverence. With church scandals others are turning their back on traditional religions and the dogma of the past. Interfaith Ministers can tread the careful dance between dogma and individuals own experience with ceremonies that are authentic, heartfelt and sometimes fun.
In addition to facilitating dialogue and conducting ceremonies, we also offer inter-spiritual explorations. This explores the few but important experiences and concepts shared across different faiths and belief systems. Our commitment is to promote harmony and understanding between different faiths and belief systems. We do this while honouring the unique backgrounds, beliefs, and values of each individual. The beauty of diversity and interconnectedness is there to be (re)discovered.