Finding a Humanist Celebrant
Planning a wedding can stir feelings of joy, hope, and anticipation, as well as some occasional stress—a kaleidoscope of emotions. Some couples decide to keep things simple and just elope. Today, more and more couples are planning their weddings at zoos, museums, and rustic barns, rather than in houses of worship. This change—along with the growing percentage of the population that doesn’t identify with organized religion—delivers a shift in who may perform (or solemnize) these “new age” and sometimes mountaintop (and sometimes fun) wedding ceremonies. Who better to fulfill that role than the Humanist Celebrant?
My spouse and I were planning our wedding whilst being over 6,500 miles apart for much of the process, which was mostly fun and pleasant until the search started for an officiant. We were planning to wed at a rural site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Every lead I was given (and every phone call I made) resulted in a dead-end. We finally heard back from a nearly retired, traffic-court judge who said that he would assist us with our humanist-themed, secular wedding. I remember thinking afterwards, this shouldn’t have been so difficult.
Easing the process to find an officiant is one of the reasons that I became a Humanist Celebrant, however, there are many other roles that I fulfill and services that I perform for members of various communities thanks to my endorsement through The Humanist Society. In addition to weddings, Celebrants provide meaningful, distinctly personal, and professional ceremonies for a wide range of life’s milestones: celebrating the welcoming of a child, coming-of-age, transgender naming, commitment unions, and memorials (pets, too). Non-religious couples, for example, often appreciate that there is an alternative to christenings/baptisms, for Celebrants assist with welcoming babies into the world and designating close friends and/or family members as guide parents (rather than godparents). The Humanist Society currently has over 394 Humanist Celebrants in forty-four states and three countries.
Chaplains, Lay Leaders, and Invocators are also endorsed by The Humanist Society. Chaplains serve secular institutions, such as hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, military units, schools, police departments, and universities, as well as members of humanist communities. Lay Leaders creatively promote the philosophy, values, and mission of humanism in their community and may organize meetings and discussion groups of local humanists, represent humanism on interfaith coalitions such as a disaster recovery team, or possibly coordinate community service and other volunteering initiatives. And Invocators perform short speeches in public forums which, rather than calling upon a supernatural entity as a guide, remind us of our capacity and responsibility to guide ourselves and others to live good lives in service to the general welfare of our communities and humanity as a whole.
The Humanist Society cultivates, promotes, and supports an outstanding community of humanist professionals, fully equipped to meet life’s celebratory and supportive needs. And, like other Celebrants, Chaplains, Lay Leaders, and Invocators with this organization, I am grateful to serve in New York.
Find out how you can best be served in your area using this directory.