When a couple who come from different religions and backgrounds get engaged and start looking for an officiant for their big day, the task can be daunting and confusing. Many feel that if you are of two different faiths the path of least resistance would be to have a civil or non spiritual ceremony. Many interfaith couples may find that there is parental pressure to have a ceremony that reflects each family’s beliefs and comfort zone. Those couples can feel that they are caught in a game of wedding ceremony tug of war and what should be a happy time starts becoming stressful and problematic. Or many interfaith couples have their family’s support but do not know how to go about having a ceremony that reflects each of their spiritual beliefs.
For those interfaith couples who want to bring their individual backgrounds, religions and traditions into a beautiful and cohesive ceremony finding the right Ordained Interfaith Minister can in fact be “an answer to your prayers”.
You may be confused to what exactly is an Interfaith Minister. Many couples don’t know or understand the background and the education an Interfaith Minister has. An Ordained Interfaith Minister, like myself, who graduated from seminary were taught by respected leaders and teachers of all religions. I spent years working with and taking classes from Rabbis and Priests, Pastors, Ministers, Buddhist Priests and even Monks. We delved deeply in each religion’s rich history and beliefs. We spent many months with religious leaders studying each religion’s bible and Holy Scriptures.
We are taught that to understand and enjoy full spiritual fellowship with all religions of the world. "Never Instead of, Always In Addition To” is the foundation of our beliefs. It would be ludicrous to suggest we have the ability to wholly change the attitudes of the world. It is our desire to transcend the religious and cultural difficulties that those in need have experienced. We wish to extend our compassion, concern, love and caring, which has been the tradition of the Interfaith Minister.
Many people who are not of a Christian background may be put off by the title of “Minister”. They may feel that the title of Minister is always connected to one particular Christian-based belief. This is not necessarily true, the dictionary describes the meaning of a minister:
1. To attend to the wants and needs of others
2. To perform the functions of a cleric
So in actuality an Interfaith Minister performs the functions of a cleric and attends to the needs and wants of people that come from diverse religious and traditional backgrounds.
An Ordained Interfaith Minister will be able to take important pieces from each religions and background and blend them together to create a beautiful and cohesive ceremony. Asking parents and family members to participate in different symbolic facets of the ceremony can also generate a feeling of togetherness as two families become one.
As with any wedding officiant, an engaged couple should find an Interfaith Minister who brings warmth, humor and a willingness to listen, understanding and creatively put into action the individual needs of the couple.
Submitted by Rev Alison Caiola, www.nyweddingclergy.com