OneSpirit ministers offer a clear and simple funeral service for today.
A meaningful funeral service or memorial service is important for marking the completion of a life and to help those left behind to release the loved one, friend or colleague. Meeting the needs and beliefs not only of the deceased, but of all who attend a funeral, is important. When this is a central theme, everyone attending, regardless of faith or views, will feel included.
A service created especially for you by an Interfaith Minister will reflect the true spirit of the person whose life is being celebrated, and encompass all who attend.
Why would a funeral led by a OneSpirit minister be appropriate?
Because a funeral today often includes people attending from different faiths or none. Our ministers are mature men and women who have followed a two-year training programme with the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation, where the inner spiritual truths of the individual and at the heart of the world’s great faith traditions are recognised. There are countless paths leading to the One God / Truth / Great Spirit / Source-of-All.
Here is an example of one person’s experience of a funeral led by an interfaith minister.
“I am writing to express my gratitude and to share the most beautiful “Home Coming” ceremony for my mother. The day was not just sprinkled but strewn, with symbolic “happening” of gifts, healing and messages that embodied all that is my mother. So many have already said to me what an amazing and healing experience it has been, and how much joy they have gained from being a part of it.”
The following article is adapted from a piece written by Rev Angie Alexandra that was published in the Funeral Service Times:
Funerals for ‘non-religious’ believers . . .
Today it’s becoming more common for people to regard themselves as ‘non-religious’ because they don’t take part in organised religion or visit a house of worship. It seems what this often means in practice, in the context of a funeral or memorial, is that the bereaved family would like prayerful words, a favourite hymn perhaps, and a reference to the possibility of an afterlife.
People have different theories about what happens to our life-force when we die and not everyone defines ‘God’ in the same way – many people define God as a loving presence that they have their own personal connection with either as an experience or an understanding. People most often choose for their prayers to be addressed to God, but as Interfaith Ministers, we always ask what terms and wording would be most fitting (they might address a Higher Power as Divine Presence, Spirit, Universe or something else).
Funerals which are ‘part-religious, part-secular’ or ‘spiritual’
For some people ‘non-religious’ in reality is actually ‘part religious, part secular’ or what some would term ‘spiritual’ and if more people knew they had that choice – to have a very personal ‘Celebration of Life’ with prayers and reference to an afterlife – this is what they might choose.
One Funeral Director tells me that though more people are asking for a ‘non-religious’ ceremony, they’re rarely non-believers. More often than not they want an alternative to a traditional religious ceremony in a church and the only alternative they’re usually aware of is that of the Humanists.
A very flexible option in every way . . .
We don’t have parishes or churches and are willing to work wherever people would have us go – crematoria, Funeral Directors’ chapels, halls and hotels, woodland burial sites, beauty spots, front rooms or private gardens (from churches and chapels if granted permission from sympathetic church Ministers).
Though OneSpirit ministers have attended a training programme and have been ordained, we are very different to church ministers – another title for us could be The People’s Ministers as we create ceremony for people around their own personal beliefs and faith, whilst being inclusive of their family and community.
OneSpirit interfaith ministers expand the term Interfaith . . .
We expand the term Interfaith beyond its most common usage of referring to dialogue and worship between people of different religions, to include ministering to the whole of humanity regardless of faith or no faith.
Our use of the term Interfaith isn’t meant to be in competition with more traditional Interfaith concepts or traditional religion, rather we seek to offer an additional choice of ceremony to promote respect, fellowship and peace between fellow humans.In the context of funerals the term Interfaith indicates we’d respond to anyone’s needs, to help them have the most fitting and meaningful final send off for their loved one.
Respecting people’s personal beliefs and needs . . .
An interfaith ceremony could be a non-traditional religious ceremony or a secular ceremony and any variation in between. The ceremonies we create are always in response to our clients’ needs, whatever those needs are. Whether a family would like a funeral that is short and simple with just me talking, or elaborate taking all day with a memorial slideshow and readings, poems and remembering, music and food and drink, and lots of involvement from everyone – what’s important to me, is that I can respond unrestricted to each family’s unique needs, rather than tell those who approach me what they can or can’t have.
Interfaith in context with Religious funerals
A ceremony held by a OneSpirit minister wouldn’t have a set structure or any set wording. We would include religious elements if wanted, with the greatest respect for the religion, but the main body of the ceremony would usually be very personal remembering the loved one, rather than focused on any particular religion. Very often bereaved families want their loved one’s birth tradition mentioned and honoured, but they don’t want the whole ceremony based around that one religion.
Funeral Directors know that sometimes bereaved families feel uncomfortable approaching the minister of the local church to hold the funeral of their loved one, when they never normally set foot in a church. We have every sympathy for the families unaware of all of their choices, who would probably choose an interfaith ceremony if they knew of the option; and every sympathy for church ministers being called on not through choice or a connection with the faith they represent, but through necessity. We very much hope that what we offer can be helpful both to bereaved families and also to local clergy.
How to find a OneSpirit minister near you
To locate your nearest minister, simply use our online Map of ministers function and search by Town/City, Postcode or County. Or you can select ‘Funerals’ in the ‘Services Offered’ option to see a list of all ministers conducting funerals. Alternatively, call 0333 332 1996 in the UK and press 2 for ‘funeral services’ if you need help in an emergency.
Some of our ministers are called to serve solely through funerals. Read about Anne who has supported families and created funerals for more than 1000 people.