And so, on the 26th July, I was ordained an interfaith minister:

ordination photo Reverend Sarah McCulloch at your service

And so many thanks to my friends who came to share in my ridiculous joy – you guys are amazing.

It was a ceremony that was powerful, meaningful, and occasionally naff, but I’m never going to forget a second. I remember when I was 5, thinking that I’d quite like to be a minister – 20 years later, I’ve got Reverend in front of my name and a commission to go forth and minister as I see fit. It’s a lot of responsibility! The faculty told us to be aware that you feel quite fragile afterwards and I actually found that was true. It was like I’d had a phenomenal dream, and I kept asking myself, “Did that really happen?”

It’s mildly surreal introducing myself as a minister: I went to a birthday dinner last week and a bunch of friends and someone I didn’t know ended up at my flat afterwards for more drinks. The unknown person found out at about 5am that I was an interfaith minister and couldn’t quite square his mental image of a minister with a drunken me. I’m not sure whether that is a good thing or not, but I like to think of myself as transcending boundaries. :P

ordination circle Reverend Sarah McCulloch at your service

The ceremony itself. I’m on the bottom left.

33 of us were ordained that day, to make a total of some 600 interfaith ministers in Britain. What people actually do varies considerably. Some work as chaplains, others do workshops, go on to get further qualifications in their specific faith path, specialise in one ceremony or just work as a general celebrant.

I am still doing a MSc at the moment and in a slightly bizarre twist of events I’m opening a takeaway next week, so my time is somewhat limited – I’m taking this opportunity to let things settle but, to judge by the emails I am already getting about helping people with developing ministries and websites online, I’ll probably be combining both loves for a little while I wait for an angel to descend and tell me what to do next. I’m planning to build a separate website – watch this space!

team14 Reverend Sarah McCulloch at your service

Ordination Class of 2014, at your service! Check out OSIF for more info.

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Palestine calls Oslo 1942 252x300 Seriously, stop comparing Jews to the Nazis. Please.

1942 graffiti on a Jewish shop that reads, “Palestine calls, Jews not tolerated in Norway”.

Imagine that your parents and the majority of everyone they knew had all been systematically been massacred by a particular sect when you were a kid. Imagine you grew up in a family that was utterly traumatised by this massacre and was determined to avoid anything similar ever happening again. Imagine that growing up with that collective memory and grief had messed you up and you became an abuser towards others in an attempt to secure what was left of your family. Imagine that loads of people rightly protested this but deliberately taunted you by comparing you to the people who had committed that massacre, traumatising you over and over, choosing words and images to make it hurt as much as possible, claiming it was justified to “trigger” (that’s the word, isn’t it?) you over and over again because you were a bad person who just deserves it.

And now imagine that you had cousins and friends who had also seen the generation before them massacred, but who didn’t agree with your actions. Imagine that they also had to deal with the fallout from your abusive acts by being constantly subjected to comments, photos, and images comparing you, their friend or relative, to the sect who had systematically massacred everyone they had known and loved as well. Who had nothing to do with any of it but just had to put up with this torrent of horrible imagery and hate, aimed at them, their friends, and their families. And any time they objected, were told that no, it was ok, they were just trying to deliberately traumatise your friend, because he was a bad person and it’s ok to try to emotionally torture people with their past if you don’t like them. [click to continue…]

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