OneSpirit Ministers are frequently invited to lead the celebrations and family get-togethers for weddings and baby namings. Here are some FAQs on how we can help you mark some of life’s most important moments.
How is an Interfaith Ceremony different from any other kinds of ceremony?
With a Civil or Humanist ceremony, you cannot use any words or elements that could be defined as religious or spiritual.
A Religious Minister might only be willing to hold weddings for you in his/her church with a particular structure or content or only be willing to use church doctrine, formal prayers, or language such as God.
What’s wonderful about our ceremonies is that there are no restrictions over the content. You have complete freedom of choice to create a unique wedding ceremony, using the words that are most meaningful for you and your family. You, your beliefs and values always come first.
What about the legal element?
All weddings and civil partnership ceremonies have a legal element in order to recognise the marriage in law. As the present time, in England and Wales, you need to hold a separate short legal formality with a Registrar to make the marriage or civil partnership legal. In Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, OneSpirit ministers can also complete the legal element of a marriage ceremony, without any need for a Registrar to be involved.
Baby naming and funerals are not legal ceremonies, therefore they can take place anywhere and anyone can lead the ceremony.
As you’re a minister, does the wedding ceremony have to be in a church?
No. We can hold your wedding ceremony anywhere (literally) – in a castle, by a lake, on the beach, or even at home in your front room or back garden.
We can give you complete freedom and choice to create a unique wedding, exactly as you would like it to be. You can have your marriage ceremony where you’d like, and exactly how you’d like.
Can you do Same Sex weddings and partnership ceremonies?
Yes. A OneSpirit minister is happy to conduct a same sex ceremony or blessing for you. Some of our ministers are gay men or lesbians, and in relationships themselves. We can conduct your wedding service in a setting of your choosing, and work with you to create a ceremony that reflects your own intentions for your relationship together. In England and Wales you will still need to complete a brief civil service if you want your marriage to be legally recognised. From Autumn 2014, in Scotland OneSpirit ministers will be able to offer fully legal same sex marriage ceremonies.See our page on services by gay, lesbian and bisexual ministers.
My partner and I are from mixed religious and cultural backgrounds, how will that work in the marriage ceremony?
Interfaith marriage ceremonies are the ideal option in this case as we can honour many different faiths with appropriate rituals and words so that your ceremony reflects your beliefs as a couple while the needs and expectations of your families are honoured in a sensitive way.
Do we have to be religious?
Only if you want to be!
Whether you consider yourselves non-religious or religious, spiritual or atheist, or anywhere within the vast spectrum of beliefs in-between we can help as we take into account your beliefs, whatever they are and create your marriage ceremony in a way that reflects them.
Your wedding ceremony can be secular (not religious or spiritual at all) or it can include religious elements and wording, or be spiritual or a blend of all of these – as you wish.
There are so many ideas out there I am confused as to where to start to create our ceremony. Can you help?
We have collected a vast range of resources for ideas on music, vow creation, readings, rituals and practical things to think about to make sure the day goes smoothly.
Throughout your preparations, we support and guide you so there’s no need to feel concerned or daunted about the content of your ceremony. We take care to bring everything together for you so you can relax knowing your wishes will be respected.
So what exactly is a OneSpirit minister?
Though we use the titles Minister and Reverend and have been ordained by the The OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation, we’re a very different kind of Minister from traditional Religious Ministers.
We don’t have a church or particular religious or spiritual path. We minister wherever we’re asked to go, in a way that’s fitting for the people we’re supporting. We like to call ourselves ‘The People’s Ministers’ as it better describes that we’re here in service to people of all faiths and no faith; in service to your own personal needs, beliefs and spirituality, whatever they may be.
Thanks to Rev. Janette Blakemore for writing this article. She is an experienced interfaith minister based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who has conducted many weddings and other ceremonies.