Overview of Ministry to Children and Parents

As attendance at traditional religions services continues to decline, families look for authentic ways in which to connect on a spiritual level that may or may not include affiliation with a religions institution. Parents seek authentic, life-giving ways to nurture their children’s spirituality, but without skilled guidance, this can be elusive.

Interfaith ministers are uniquely positioned to serve “spiritual but not religious” parents as they seek to raise their children in a rich spiritual environment outside of typical religious structures. Interfaith ministers also help families with more than one religious tradition learn how to respect and celebrate the diversity of faith rather than find it a barrier to deeper intimacy.

For “spiritual but not religious” and multi-faith families, interfaith ministers perform a variety of spiritual services, including weddings, memorials, rituals to mark rites of passage, and workshops/classes/books for parents and children that support the ongoing development of family members of all ages.  

 

Meet Rev. Hanna Hymans Ostroff, Interfaith Minister

Hanna_Ostroff.jpgI am an ordained interfaith minister, author, officiant and public speaker. As natural as all of this feels in the present, I've been officially engaged in this work for only a few years. My role as wife to my husband and soul-mate and mother to our four children has been ongoing for decades. My family is the most important and wonderful blessing in my life. The love I feel for my family motivates me to deepen on a daily basis my relationship to the Divine.

Reading picture books with my children was a favorite activity and led to my writing stories which all include spiritual qualities I've experienced in my home and family. It's one thing to write stories but another to publish, and I'm not sure this would have happened without the encouragement of my Dean of Interfaith Studies at ChI.  After reading an early draft of my children's picture book Aya, she said, "This is a story that needs to be published and read by a lot of people." Fast forward a few years, now a published author and public speaker, my author talks naturally include a discussion of prayer and interfaith spirituality.

Several years before entering ChI as a seminary student, I was surprised when asked by two separate acquaintances to "officiate" on two different occasions. I researched what it means to be an officiant, and this led to my first awareness of "interfaith" and the possibility of entering a seminary as a student of interfaith.  ChI offers the only nearby seminary where all faiths are brought into focus from a truly level playing field.

Through my studies while at ChI and an ever deepening interfaith daily prayer practice since ChI, I have honed my ability to respond when asked to officiate and offer spiritual counsel. Whether I am writing, speaking to parents and children, or asked to step in as a minister or officiant, I understand my role is merely as a conduit for the Divine, and I am humbled by any opportunity to offer anything truly helpful in service to the Divine.

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