Jackie Bailey, PhD, M.Th, Cert IV Civil Celebrancy, PGDip Digital Media, BA (Hons I), University Medal
I am one of Australia’s only Ordained Interfaith Celebrants.
I am passionate about empowering people to live a spiritual life with or without religion. I offer alternative and independent funeral and wedding services which are personalised, authentic and meaningful to you and your loved ones.
After my sister passed away in 2015, I wanted to make a difference to people like her and my family, who could not afford great big funerals and who wanted something more personal to treasure as memories of her. But I was not very religious any more, and did not identify with the faith I had been raised in.
I searched for a course of study which would provide more meaning than “civil” celebrancy and would help me to offer spiritual services to people like me, who are no longer religious but who still yearn for a connection to mystery and awe in our lives.
In 2016 I enrolled in a Masters of Theology and ordination program through The New Seminary, which is the world’s oldest “interfaith” seminary. The seminary specialises in training people to offer spiritual services to people who are spiritual but not religious. I graduated and was ordained as an “Interfaith Minister” in 2018, and have been offering spiritual services and support since 2017.
My ministry takes the form of celebrancy, end-of-life care, spiritual care and counsel, and writing. I live in the Illawarra, which is about an hour and a half south of Sydney, with my husband and daughter and offer services throughout Australia and internationally.
I am also a writer, with a PhD in creative writing from the University of New South Wales. My auto-fiction novel was shortlisted for the 2018 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award (you can read an excerpt here). I have written for the Sydney Morning Herald, Artshub, Screenhub, Artlink, Online Opinion, Arts Professional UK, Cultural Trends, Australian Journal of Human Rights, and have contributed to publications on storytelling, love, death and dying.
I am currently working on a non-fiction book with the working title Sublime: Living a Spiritual Life Without Religion, which sets out practical tools for how to lead a spiritual life without religion. From time to time I will include articles and excerpts and interesting research in my blog on this site. And please let me know what you would like to know more about and I will do what I can!
My creed these days is much shorter and simpler than the one I used to recite as a child. Nowadays it goes like this:
I believe I can lead a spiritual and meaningful life, without religion.
I believe that you can, too.