What is a humanist celebrant?

A Humanist Celebrant attends to the pastoral needs of the Humanist community and all others seeking those services.  Contrary to popular belief, this means far more than just officiating weddings, but includes visiting someone who is sick and in the hospital (being an alternative to being visited by religious clergy or religious chaplains).  This also means presiding over a funeral and helping the family navigate their grief, helping a family welcome a new life in naming a baby, helping people with landmark celebrations in their life, and lending assistance with frustrating and sad times and events.  You may find a video at the bottom of this page which nicely sums up what a humanist celebrant is and does.

What is the history of humanist celebrants?

In 1939, a group of former Quakers founded the Humanist Society to establish a non-theistic Humanist ministry and, since 1991, to provide this service to the American Humanist Association.  With Humanist tenets in mind, the Humanist Society was authorized to issue charters anywhere in the world.  Acting as an educational, charitable, nonprofit organization, they would train and certify people who, upon endorsement, would be accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to priests, ministers, and rabbis of traditional theistic religions.

These people are Humanist Celebrants, who have full rights and responsibilities of ordained clergy, under the jurisdiction of the law within their state, and are authorized to attend to the pastoral and ceremonial needs of Humanists and all others seeking these services. Recognizing the important role life occasions play in individual and community life, the Humanist Society prepares Humanist Celebrants to lead ceremonial observances across the nation and worldwide. Celebrants provide millions of Americans an alternative to traditional religious weddings, memorial services, and other life-cycle events. The celebration of life is central to a meaningful humanist philosophy, and Humanist Celebrants officiate significant celebrations vital to humanist life.

Where can I find a humanist celebrant?

If you or someone you know is in need of any of the services that a Humanist Celebrant can provide, FreeThought Fort Wayne member, Victoria Gipson, is a trained Humanist Celebrant, who is happy to help.  She can be reached at her Secular Celebrations of Northeast Indiana Facebook page or 260-343-1353.