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Community Interfaith Ceremonies

(originally inspired through The Crisses)

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The idea behind community interfaith ceremonies is to bring together people open to other belief systems regardless of their religion, spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof, to create an interfaith ceremony fostering a goal based on a universal ideal. This idea is inspired by the rituals at otherkin gatherings.

The original thought goes something like:

A group of people gather together and have a potluck dinner during which they talk and get to know each other or catch up on things since the last meeting. After dinner (and after latecomers have straggled in), the group gets down to the first order of business: creating the ceremony for the evening.

A few people probably came with a purpose that night: perhaps they or a friend needs healing. Or perhaps the group can advertise a main theme each meeting such as "universal peace" or similar that does not violate the core purpose of the group in question. People at the ceremony planning session put out ideas and people either accept and corroberate on them, or decline the idea because it feels wrong, clashes with their religion or belief system, or because they just plain don't want to or don't like it. In any case, after an hour or so the group should have a good idea of what structure there will be, and what leeway there is for personal expression during a ceremony.

Then the ceremony is prepped and performed. Then there's a feedback session (or people can give feedback during dinner the next time the group meets).

Prerequisites: people must have an open mind. There should be no limitation on membership based directly on religion, faith, agnosticism or atheism. Everyone needs a venue for spiritual expression even if they do not have a religion.

Group purpose: The group should be centered on interfaith spiritual ideals such as peace, healing, community, harmony, education, personal growth & health, natural and intentional family building, etc. and hopefully bringing open minded people together with this purpose in mind will actually foster it. If the otherkin in the group end up feeling comfortable enough, they can share their belief systems. If not, hopefully no one is prying.

Problem: I can only see one problem so far: Intolerance probably will not be tolerated. Intolerant persons probably wouldn't want to show, and probably will have problems in this particular community. That includes otherkin who are intolerant of humans, or certain religions amongst humans. While this idea can still be fostered in smaller communities if there are enough members in a community to support it (such as a local kin community), it really is inspired with the intent to create a more tolerant and educated multifaith situation in which otherkin can feel comfortable and possibly even come out.

Suggestion: I suggest that these groups start out with very small and simple ceremonies until there's a basic core group and there's some experience with lightweight ceremonies and simplistic ideals for the ceremony.

Advertising: the bulletin boards of local esoteric shops, religious bookstores, library, supermarket, and churches. Perhaps a classified ad in a local newspaper.

Venue: This idea is perfect for a Universal Unitarian Church (or even several other denominations) meeting room, if they'll allow this...or the first few meetings can rotate between people's homes. Do not advertise more than a phone number for the first meeting; you may want to take a list of interested persons until you have 15-20 people's names and phone numbers, and then make a time/place based on input from them on what days/times work best for the majority of them, with at least a 2 week lead-in. A second advertising campaign with more specific time/date info is then possible, but a good core group to start with will probably be the 10 people or so that make it to the first meeting (expect a poor turnout from initial responses).

Ideas? Comments? Additions? Pitfalls? Please feel free to add them below.

Crisses -- personally I can't wait to use this idea....But I don't really want to start it in NYC, because I won't be able to guarantee the ceremonies continue after I move out. This idea was inspired by "How do I find interesting people near where I live when I move?", thinking about the esoteric shop in-town, and wondering how to get openminded persons in one place. Then Zam! this idea got me. I love the idea. Hopefully others will find it helpful.

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