Rev Geraldine Bown | Co. GALWAY
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My mobile: +353 86 832 4277
Based in Connemara, County Galway
My personal website: www.bit.ly/sacred-ceremonies
Weddings | Commitment Ceremonies | Renewal of Vows
Workshops on Various Aspects of Spirituality
Hi – I’m Geraldine and I’m delighted to be connecting with you on this page.
I want to share with you here three principles which are of great importance to me in my work as a One Spirit Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor:
The first principle is the importance of the spiritual self in our everyday functioning as a human being. Spirituality is not something that exists with no connection to our physical, mental and emotional selves. Our spiritual self is the doorway to our authenticity. Our spirituality gives us our foundation for the great meaning in our lives and enables us to stay in balance and peace even while we are busy with the practicalities of life. It’s really hard to write anything using the word spiritual which doesn’t sound either fake or patronising. In cosmic terms we are specks of dust in a hurricane but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage with everyone, on every level, as much of the time as we can. Spirituality is not something to dress up in – we need to live from the inside out and if we can do that then we need not use the word spiritual at all actually!
The second principle is the importance of the distinction between spirituality and religion. Religion is very meaningful to some people who like the dogma and fixed boundaries. People who attend services and ceremonies as part of their religious tradition experience a sense of community and connectedness with those who are following the same path. However, those who have left a particular religion often miss that aspect of joining together with others to celebrate events, give praise to their deity, and sing and pray together. Still others, who have no wish to join an organised religion, would like to mark particular occasions in their lives with a sacred celebration. Or would like to be with others who have come together to read or meditate around themes like reconciliation or forgiveness or healing. Spirituality is about the search for, and connection with the deepest part and the highest part of ourselves. It is a personal journey to the Divine. I have been on my own personal journey for many years and it is my honour and delight to accompany others on their journeys as their Spiritual Director.
The third principle is the importance of ceremony. To join together in a ceremony which expresses joy and appreciation and unites all those who are present in a common purpose can be meaningful and uplifting. It enables us to connect with our own joy, with the hearts of others and the Spirit with which we are all connected.
Whatever people’s beliefs, ceremony can be a very powerful way of integrating and honouring new experiences, life changes and personal commitments. Although I conduct Baby Blessings and Funerals as a Minister, my passion and joy comes from conducting Wedding Ceremonies. Until recently, people’s choices were limited. They could have a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. There didn’t seem to be anything in between. However, now that One Spirit Interfaith Ministers are all registered solemnises of marriage, I can create for you a legal wedding ceremony that is spiritual but not religious, a ceremony that will take into account the bride’s and groom’s personal beliefs; a ceremony where you can write your own vows; a ceremony where you can have the readings and music you wish; a ceremony which you can have on any day of the week; a ceremony which you can have in a place of your choice. I will work with you to create a personal and meaningful ceremony which will express your love and commitment and unite all those present as they bear witness to your marriage. And if you do not want to be, or cannot be legally married but want to mark your commitment to each other in a sacred way, I can create a wedding blessing ceremony for you which you will never forget. This applies whether you are heterosexual or gay or lesbian. You can read more below about how I would create, with you, your wedding ceremony.
My role as your Wedding Celebrant is to help you both to reflect deeply about your relationship, the purpose of your relationship, your intention and expectations of marriage, the vision for your lives together and how you would like to express the answers to these things in a ceremony.
The ceremony will be an authentic reflection of who you are and where
you are heading together. In the development of a ceremony, your job is to focus on how you want to express your commitment to one another and my job is to put that together into a meaningful form.
Once you have confirmed you definitely want me as your Celebrant I will send you copies of some wedding ceremonies I have conducted, plus a document with questions for you to think about as you plan your day. Most important will be the questions relating to your relationship which will help you to create your vows and help me to write the Address.
Apart from the legal requirements, the ceremony will be put together to include exactly what you both want. Typically a ceremony would be 30 minutes – 45 minutes. Most ceremonies are about 35 minutes.
You will be invited to look up readings, music, poetry or prayers which have special meaning for you and which you might want to include.
Together we will create a wonderful celebration you will always remember.
I have conducted weddings in hotels, at Irish castles, at Brigit’s Garden in County Galway, in churches, on Inishbofin and on the Cliffs of Moher. I can help you to bring a sense of the sacred to your special day in a place of your choice.
I was raised Catholic and wanted to be a Priest when I was a little girl! Sadly, way back then, I couldn’t even be an Altar Girl. The reason why I wanted to be a Priest was so that I could conduct ceremonies. Finally, as a One Spirit Interfaith Minister, I have realised my dream!
My Catholic background introduced me to God (albeit a God ‘out there’) and to the teachings of Christ. For this I will always be thankful. However, as the years went on I found myself confined by the rigidity of the organisation of the Catholic Church and I came to know God as being in me and through me not separate from me. But when I finally left the church, it was the ceremony I missed and the connection in the community and the music and the candles.
So I jumped at the chance to take part in the first Seminary training in the UK in 1996 to become an Interfaith Minister. I was ordained in 1998. There is no set dogma to be followed, no allegiance to any particular tradition and no fixed Ministerial role. Each One Spirit Interfaith Minister serves in their own way in their own communities. Some Ministers will choose to offer Services of worship and celebration; some Ministers will concentrate on spiritual guidance; some will want to focus on a specific area such as working with the dying or the bereaved ……. and some might want to bring a spiritual perspective to the workplace.
My chosen focus for my ministry and spiritual work is on conducting sacred ceremonies for special occasions – especially weddings, and working with individuals and groups on their own spiritual awakening and exploration.
In my own spiritual journey, I have been a student of A Course in Miracles and of esoteric philosophy as well as reading and learning from great spiritual teachers past and present. I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Spiritual Development and Facilitation at the University of Surrey UK in 2007.
You can find more information about me at www.dominoperspectives.co.uk
Whatever your beliefs – any or none – I would be honoured and delighted to be your Wedding Celebrant. Call me and let’s talk about it.