Bright Path Ceremonies

Religion and rituals

Published 09/30/2016

I craft wedding ceremonies that are true to each couples beliefs and core values. One of the first questions I ask at my consultation is what tone do they want the ceremony to be focused on. 90% of the time couples reach out to me because I am a non-denominational minister outside of any  house of worship. They usually are not looking for a religious ceremony, but I have to ask and not assume. Most couples will tell me that they were raised a certain religion but are not practicing or attending a house of worship, and they are more spiritual in nature. With that being said what is the difference between Religion and Spirituality and why are people leaving their background of religion? My other question is if leaving the confines of a religion does this leave a void in our society-where do we go as a community to find connection? 

I know for myself, I was raised in a Catholic church, went to Catholic schools and most of my family and friends were Catholic. What I enjoyed most about being involved with the church was the community and the rituals that helped me feel connected. I loved the holiday traditions, the prayers, the rituals of baptism welcoming in a new member, Holy communion a sacrament that initiated me into the holy eucharist, confirmation was really a coming of age sacrament and then marriage where my husband and I receive the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. These rituals helped me feel accepted and safe. I had a place to pray and ask for forgiveness. As an adult I started to find these rituals slow to change with the times. The old rituals started to make me feel dis-connected and they made no sense to me especially with our society becoming global and mixed. Reimagining ritual can be threatening to religious institutions. Although I treat ritual traditions with respect, I challenge them and as an officiant I need to be able to create ceremony that a couple feels engaged in and relates to in our changing society. What I see happening is we have a void of what helps us feel connected as a community. Without a house of worship where do we go? In my upcoming blogs I will be addressing this issue and giving insight to what we can do to keep tradition, rituals and ceremonies current and meaningful.