Changes to The Humanist Society: Becoming a Humanist Celebrant is Now Easier Than Ever

More and more people are becoming interested in humanism, humanist life celebrations and humanist communities. The generations after the Baby Boomers are growing increasingly non-religious, and 20% of the U.S. population declare themselves as “none” when asked to describe their religious affiliation. To meet the growing need for humanist life celebrations, The Humanist Society—an affiliate of the American Humanist Association certifying Humanist Celebrants performing weddings, funerals, and other major life events—has made some recent changes and taken some exciting steps forward to grow the number of humanist weddings in the United States.

One of the major changes within the Humanist Society is the new Humanist Celebrant application process. In an effort to expand the number of Humanist Celebrants, the Humanist Celebrant application process has been streamlined, standardized, and published online. Those interested in becoming a Celebrant no longer have to print out the application and mail it in. Now, you can type directly onto the application and send it via email. The application process has never been easier!

The Humanist Society now offers seven, rather than just one, different Humanist Celebrant endorsement options. The new endorsement levels create the opportunity for more individuals to become leaders and advocates for humanism. Individuals who are interested in a one-time Celebrant experience can apply to become an Associate Humanist Celebrant. This endorsement is valid for ninety days and is an introductory Celebrant credential that confers the rights equivalent to ordained clergy, including wedding solemnization. For those individuals who do not desire clergy-equivalent recognition or do not qualify for Celebrant status, the title of Lay Leader is available. This status is also available for military personnel desiring to organize humanist meetings within chaplain services in accordance with various military regulations. There are also new roles for Celebrants willing to step into advanced leadership positions within the secular movement.

In an effort to better support and train Humanist Celebrants, a new Humanist Celebrant Handbook was recently created. This Humanist Celebrant Handbook (PDF) will fill in the gaps for both new and seasoned Celebrants and provide new ideas and perspectives. The Handbook will be an ever evolving resource for Celebrants and will include Sample Readings and Poetry, Celebrant Codes of Ethics and Conduct, Celebrations and Ceremonies and Celebrant Marketing Information.

As humanist communities grow across the country, leadership at The Humanist Society will work to supply well-trained Humanist Celebrants. Therefore, The Humanist Society is partnering with The Humanist Institute to provide Celebrant training and education. The Humanist Society is in the process of developing online Celebrant training modules, which will be released in phases; “Weddings” will be the first training module. This collaboration not only provides more educational opportunities to Humanist Celebrants but also unites organizations that are fully invested in the humanist movement.

There has never been a better and more exciting time to become endorsed as a Humanist Celebrant! To learn more, visit  

Rachael Berman, Grassroots and Celebrant Program CoordinatorRachael Berman is the grassroots coordinator for the American Humanist Association and program coordinator for the Humanist Society.