All things to all people?

Charles Cowling

 

Posted by Richard Rawlinson

 

For better or worse, depending on your viewpoint, you know where you stand with both civil and Catholic funerals – give or take a few 1,000 variations on a theme. However, I’m not sure what to make of this organisation, and would be interested to hear your take on it. For me, the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation seems to be forging a niche for itself that sits firmly on the fence between civil and religious, claiming to design funeral ceremonies where everyone attending, regardless of faith or views, will feel included.

Acknowledging that a funeral today often includes people attending from different faiths or none, the foundation supplies male and female ministers who have followed a two-year training programme with the Interfaith Seminary. It claims this training allows for the recognition of ‘the inner spiritual truths of the individual [which are also] at the heart of the world’s great faith traditions’. It adds: ‘There are countless paths leading to the One God / Truth / Great Spirit / Source-of-All’.

This is clearly not just another Protestant sect as it’s aiming to be as inclusive of agnostics and non-Christians as it is those uncomfortable with the organised Church. In fact, the reference to ‘God’ above is the only one I could find on its website.

Of its ministry, it says: ‘We aim to be of service to people of all faiths or none’, citing as an example ‘those who are seeking spiritual connection and expression, yet feel uncomfortable with conventional religion’.

It continues: ‘We are not creating a new religion, but filling a growing spiritual gap in modern society. It’s not our aim to convert anyone away from their faith, but to support people who wish to enquire more deeply into their own spiritual tradition and their own soul’.

Whether agnostic or religious, might this approach be comforting to some in the context of funerals?

I have my own views, but I’d be interested to hear thoughts from the civil funeral perspective.

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