International Day of Education 2024

by | Jan 18, 2024

Meet Maddy, Our Learning Design Specialist

On this International Day of Education, we introduce you to a special member of our team, Maddy. Maddy is our Learning Design Specialist, and her life journey and beliefs play a pivotal role in the contributions she makes to our community.

A bit about Maddy

Maddy has had a deep-seated interest in spirituality from a young age. This interest led her to pursue a degree and a Master’s in Theology and Religious Studies. Maddy greatly treasures the visits she made to spiritually significant locations in Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, experiencing first-hand how people across cultures find the sacred in everyday life.

She resides in Birmingham with her husband, Mike, and their rescue dog, Lucy. Maddy and her family love basking in nature’s beauty by exploring the UK’s forests and beaches. It’s their favourite pastime over the weekends.

Journey to OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation

When asked about what led her to become the Learning Design Specialist at OneSpirit, Maddy shared her journey:

“I completed a Theology and Religious Studies degree and trained as a secondary school RE teacher. I found my passion in teaching students with additional needs. Seeing the ways the mainstream school system was letting these students down led me to specialise in teaching students with a range of additional needs. This was a challenging but incredibly rewarding role.”

“After a research master’s, I felt disillusioned with the school system and started to contemplate what I wanted from a job. That was when I found OneSpirit. The job was everything I loved about education and held a belief that education can change the world. Since joining in 2021, I’ve been learning and growing as the role and I evolved. It changed so much about how I see the world and myself in it. I’m excited about the future!”

Background and personal beliefs influencing her work

Maddy’s unique background and beliefs significantly shape her approach towards learning design at OneSpirit:

“I was lucky to have the freedom to explore faith and spirituality from a young age. This freedom inspired my approach to education. I am passionate about freedom and creativity in exploration. My approach with the content I create is to give people something to explore further.”

Interfaith education: What it means to Maddy

For Maddy, interfaith education is crucial in our increasingly divided world:

“Interfaith education can equip us to engage with others more compassionately and empathetically. It not only teaches us about different faiths’ beliefs and practices but also allows us to see the humanness in everyone.”

Bonus: A peek into Maddy’s favourites!
  • Favourite book: The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (also loves Be Here Now by Ram Dass)
  • Favourite movie: The Goonies
  • Favourite song: Going to California by Led Zeppelin
  • Favourite band: Death Cab for Cutie
  • Favourite cuisine: Thai food when eating out and experimenting when cooking at home (and brownies for snacks!)
  • Favourite places to visit: Alnmouth in Northumberland and Ynyslas in Wales, typically, any place by the sea!

We believe that every person has a unique story to tell and no one’s story shows it better than Maddy’s. As we celebrate the International Day of Education, let us remember the influences and experiences that make us who we are today. After all, every day is a chance to learn something new!



Pilgrimage with the Coat of Hopes​

In this blog post, OneSpirit Minister & Tutor Sarah MacDonald takes you on a journey of pilgrimage with the Coat of Hopes.

Redefining Interfaith: Holistically and Inclusively

OneSpirit is reimagining interfaith to foster a more inclusive and holistic understanding that honours individual spiritual journeys alongside traditional religious affiliations. Recognising the limitations of previous interfaith models, OneSpirit seeks to expand the definition to respect and celebrate a diversity of spiritual experiences. Emphasising personal spiritual paths offers a richer tapestry of human spirituality, beyond the confines of organised religion.

Enrolment is Officially Open!

We’re thrilled to mark the commencement of enrolment for our Spiritual Development and Ministry Training. This year, we are proud to introduce the Birch Offering as a new branch of our Aspen Pathway, which continues to be an entirely online curriculum designed for your convenience. Enrolment is officially open NOW – and will close on the 30th of September, with the training beginning in October! Remember that we do Early Bird specials… so if you’re interested, get that application in early to receive a discounted tuition rate!

World Day to Combat Islamophobia 2024

OneSpirit underscores March 15th as the World Day to Combat Islamophobia, aiming to disperse the shadows of misconceptions looming over the Islamic faith. Embodying unity, diversity, and love, the call is to build an inclusive society by educating oneself about Islam, engaging with Muslim voices, promoting dialogues, resisting hate crimes, and sharing stories of unity. On a quest for an empathetic world, uniting in shared values forms a cornerstone. Amplify understanding, cultivate connections, and foster peace. Let's #UniteAgainstIslamophobia to ensure respect for every faith and universal embracement of humanity.

International Women’s Day 2024

OneSpirit celebrates the indispensable impact of women through the ages. Recognising women of every background, the foundation reiterates the importance of women’s unifying power, echoing compassion and connection across cultures and faiths. Voices, actions, and prayers of women are acknowledged as key to transcending divisions and achieving inclusivity. This day is a moment to unite, honour female leadership, and back the ongoing pursuit of equality and justice. OneSpirit calls for continual support for women’s rights, emphasising the collective elevation of women as pivotal to lifting humanity.

OneSpirit on InterFaith Network Closure

The Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN), vital in fostering interfaith understanding since 1987, is regrettably closing due to financial strains and uncertainties. Despite efforts and support from various donors, a closure process begins, lacking a finalised government funding agreement. OneSpirit, recognising the significant impact of IFN's work aligning with its mission, urges the interfaith community to reflect on how to continue IFN's legacy. This includes suggestions for local interfaith body support, volunteer utilisation, and maintaining the tradition of Inter Faith Week amidst evolving interfaith work post-IFN closure.

An Invitation: Anti-Racism Reading Group

The Anti-Racism Reading Group is a collaborative and open forum that gathers every Monday night from 7.15 to 8.45, next on March 18th. Attendees explore various issues of race through media that best suits their learning style, fostering self-reflection and a deeper understanding of racial issues. For the next meeting, the group will discuss 'The Colour Purple' by Maya Angelou, exercises from 'My Grandmother's Hands' by Resmaa Menakem, the poetry of Langston Hughes, and the work of Audrey Lourde. The group aims to provide a non-judgmental space, encouraging courage and recognition of racism impacts.

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Enrolment is Officially Open!

Enrolment for OneSpirit’s Spiritual Development and Ministry Training program is open. With over 25 years of experience, it nurtures spiritual growth and leadership, fostering global consciousness, compassion, and interconnectedness in an evolving world.

An Invitation: Anti-Racism Reading Group

The OneSpirit Anti-Racism Reading Group invites individuals to explore race issues in their preferred way and share insights. Participants can potentially study, for example, ‘The Colour Purple’, do embodied exercises on racial trauma, or explore Hughes and Lourdes’s works.

Redefining Interfaith: Holistically and Inclusively

We redefine interfaith to be more inclusive, embracing diverse spiritual experiences beyond traditional religions. Their vision fosters unity by honouring individual spirituality, aiming for a compassionate community that celebrates spiritual diversity.