In loving memory: Anne Burkett

In loving memory: Anne Burkett (ordained 2000)

One of our earliest graduates and beloved friend, Anne Burkett, died on 26th Feb 2019 aged 93.

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A memorial service to celebrate Anne's life was held on the 5th April at Friends' Meeting House in Coventry. OneSpirit were represented by elder, Robert Holden, who shares this short reflection: “Anne Burkett’s funeral was a beautiful occasion. Over 100 people in attendance at the Friends Meeting House in Coventry. There were four formal readings - one from family, one from the Rev at Coventry Cathedral, one from the Quaker center, and one from me representing One Spirit and Anne’s commitment to Interfaith. Afterwards, I was given these two poems written by Anne.  The Rev or Not To Rev is an absolute gem.  A little hard to read in places, but one that I think the OneSpirit community would appreciate.”

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To Rev or Not to Rev
By Anne Burkett

It would take a rev-olution
To get me to agree
To be addressed as ‘Reverend’
The life that I flee!

Oh please rev-oke this naming
Remove it from my mail
For when the postman sees it
I will have to tell the tale.

Rev-ise the constitution
So when we graduate
It isn’t with this handle
That really would be great.

I don’t feel any different
Rev-olving years pass by
The title doesn’t ‘get me’
….need some rev-elation

To show me who I am
And if it makes a difference
To show me who I am
To lose the ‘Reverend’ tag
To be the ‘Reverend Anne’

We have collected the following tributes from within our OneSpirit community, and invite you to share your own words of reflection:

Tribute from Peter Dewey (OneSpirit Elder)
I first came to know Anne while working with Canon Peter Spink in Coventry Cathedral in the mid-1970s. Anne was a very close friend of Peter’s wife, Ruby and both were members of the meditation group which met monthly in the Cathedral Chapel of the Cross of Nails. This group gathered for a talk and a silent meditational service of Holy Communion with healing through the laying on of hands. Anne loved the spirituality of it and remained with the group for fifteen years. 

In 1997, Miranda asked me to join the Seminary to deliver the Christian lectures, and so it was a great surprise for me to find Anne there as a student and to meet up with her again. 

Anne really took to the concept of a universal spirituality as a student and became a real seeker after Truth. She found a great spiritual release and inner freedom from the course work and seminars and loved the teachings of the ‘Oneness’ with the Source of All and its presence everywhere and the connectedness of all religions that the teachings introduced her to. 

Anne’s love of the Seminary and the companionship she had experienced during her course led her to help in founding a new group, ‘AIMS’, an Association of Interfaith Ministers, which laid the foundations in later years for ROSIM (Register of OneSpirit Interfaith Ministers).

Anne will always be remembered for her love of the Seminary, her pioneering spirit and endless energy.”


Tribute from Miranda Macpherson (OneSpirit founder):
"I met Anne Burkett at “The Well” natural health center in Kings Heath, Birmingham. 

I was 24 years of age, fresh off the plane from my native Australia, and I think Anne was in her late 70’s. She was delighted to meet a young Australian, as her father had spent some time in my home country, and so Anne proudly declared herself “half Australian”, articulated with her formal very British accent. 

From the moment I met Anne, I intuitively knew that she was a remarkable woman, way more than she appeared on first glance. 

Her most extraordinary characteristic was how truly open minded she was. 

Whatever I introduced her to, from the obscure but transformative breath work technique Vivation, to studying A Course in Miracles, she did not hesitate to sign up to study at the Interfaith Seminary, with a much younger woman as her teacher! 

After her ordination, she dove deeper into the Eastern scriptures, particularly the Upanishads, which seemed to unlock so many of her inner doors. 

Whatever I offered to her as a potential source of inspiration - she just said yes and came along for the ride. 

This is truly amazing for someone raised by elderly Edwardian parents. 

The last time I saw Anne in person, was that ACIM conference just outside London in 2016. 

She drove down from Coventry just to see me - and seemed as spritely and clear as ever.

In asking how her health was, she said then “I feel great, just a bit shaky on my legs when going down the stairs”.

I think she was 90 at the time! 

Truly incredible. 

I am forever grateful for her bright spirit.”


Tribute from Nicola Coombe (OneSpirit Faculty & former Focaliser)
“Anne’s support to the faculty in the last 15 years was as passionate as ever. I always remember her radiant face as she lit the opening candle at Ordination a few years ago - she the oldest graduate - and doing it with a young child.

In conversation with Kate O’Leary, the wonderful woman who sat with Anne during her passing, and organised her ceremony, Kate spoke of Anne’s ongoing commitment to the work of OneSpirit, and all of the people and organisations in the world who resonate together. Kate so hoped that the ceremony for Anne would represent her universality, and her refusal to be boxed.”


Tribute from Jill Hilton (ordained 2003): 
”I believe I first met Anne in 2004, the year after I was ordained.  I was asked by Shirley Griffin, the then treasurer of AIMS (The Association of Interfaith Ministers and Spiritual Counsellors), if I would consider taking over the job, which after some consideration I did.   The following year I met Anne at our meetings, as she too was a part of AIMS.  When AIMS was disbanded we were at her home in Coventry.

We met up all over the country and I remember an AGM in the Lake District.

Travelling around the country suited Anne, as this was what she loved; driving her little car on many trips visiting friends.  In January 2006 we moved to Lincolnshire, and she rang asking if she could come and stay.  She was with us for a couple of nights and I remember we talked a lot – well Anne did! One of the gems she imparted while here, was to suggest we plant an Amelanchier shrub in the garden; she loved her garden and was very knowledgeable. Anne came to mind today as I was admiring this shrub now in full bloom some ten years later – thank you Anne!

When she left she took both my hands and meeting my gaze, sung to me the Sufi blessing, “May the blessings of God rest upon you…”

That was Anne.  May the blessings of God rest upon you Anne.”