Celebrant On-Site Training | Michigan, Nov. 3-4

Celebrant On-Site Training | Michigan, Nov. 3-4

Join us for an on-site training for individuals interested in learning more about performing humanist ceremonies and being effective Humanist Celebrants. Saturday, November 3, 10am-4pm | Performing Life Ceremonies Sunday, November 4, 9am-12pm | How to Build Your Website The Birmingham Temple 28611 West 12 Mile Road Farmington Hills, MI 48334 Register Here Learn how to prepare unique & inspiring humanist wedding ceremonies Care for individuals nearing the end of life & support their families Gain understanding of how humanists celebrate life events & milestones Understand how to give proper local meeting invocations Participants will receive supporting materials to begin (or add to) their personal library of resources i.e. sample ceremonies, suggested readings, creative ideas. Endorsed celebrants will be added to a local database. Note: The AHA Center for Education trains celebrants and The Humanist Society endorses celebrants, enabling them to perform ceremonies. This training will inform you how to get endorsed but will not endorse you. Full program: $100 (Saturday: $75, Sunday: $25) A full refund will be provided if cancellation notice is given 15 days in advance of the training. No refunds will be made thereafter. Trainers Kathy Diedrich holds credentials as a Humanist Celebrant and a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant. She earned certificates from the Celebrant Foundation and Institute in Foundations of Celebrancy, Weddings, Funerals, and Ceremonies for Children and Families. Since 2010, she has performed over 250 ceremonies, writing each one to meet the needs and wishes of her clients. Kathy has offered weddings, memorials, naming ceremonies, and coming of age ceremonies. While the demand for secular services came as somewhat of a surprise, Kathy is happy to provide custom, meaningful ceremonies throughout southeastern Minnesota,...
Humanist Celebrants Offer Free Weddings to Marginalized Communities Affected by Presidential Election

Humanist Celebrants Offer Free Weddings to Marginalized Communities Affected by Presidential Election

For Immediate Release Contact: Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org (Washington, DC, Nov. 21, 2016)—In solidarity with the social justice community, 74 humanist celebrants endorsed by the Humanist Society, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association, will offer free weddings to LGBTQ individuals, immigrants and other marginalized communities that fear they will be negatively affected by a Trump presidency. This initiative will aid individuals afflicted by racism, homophobia and religious discrimination by offering them the comfort and security found through becoming legally connected to the one they love without worrying about financial hindrances. It will also allow people to focus on marriage as a celebration of the humanist values of love and kindness in a time when the country is feeling torn apart by hatred. Humanist celebrants across the nation are taking part in the initiative, which will continue until Inauguration Day on Friday, January 20, 2017. “We are proud of our humanist celebrants for standing up as allies for the marginalized communities that will be most negatively impacted by the uncertain political climate and the prejudices of the religious right, homophobia and white supremacy,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “In officiating weddings, a time of love and joy, we are demonstrating the strength of love and compassion, values that resonate not only with humanists but with all people.” Humanist Celebrants conduct Humanist, secular, nonreligious, non-theistic and interreligious weddings, memorials, baby naming, and other life-cycle ceremonies. Click on this map to see a listing of celebrants by state. Note: Humanist Celebrants participating in the Free Weddings to Marginalized Communities Affected by Presidential Election program...
Humanism in Action through Nonbeliever Chaplaincy

Humanism in Action through Nonbeliever Chaplaincy

This post, written by Jason Callahan, originally appeared on TheHumanist.com. September 2, 2008. That’s the day I first arrived in Richmond, Virginia, from New York City to embark on a journey that didn’t have a specific destination. The financial crisis was underway and the immediacy of my need to figure something out led me to one of the only people who’d ever supported me up until that point: my former pastor. How ironic that a clear atheist would call upon someone who works for the church for advice. This was a relationship between two human beings interested in having and promoting wholeness. I attended seminary on what was called a “trial year” enrollment that was for learners the church wasn’t sure it could own. After my first year, I just wanted to leave. I was disgusted after observing how the beliefs and the norms of the community actually contributed to an increase in mental health issues around campus. I couldn’t go back to New York because things had already gotten worse economically, so I decided to stick it out. The lack of community engagement and compassion for those in need who visited the campus forced me to reach outside of that community in order to put my skills to use. I stumbled upon chaplaincy after graduation. My pastor had always stated that she got into ministry in order to be a chaplain, because people in hospitals have real needs that transcend any theology. She admitted that going to seminary and working in the church was nothing more than getting her “union card” from the only place that had the...
Death Cafes: Connecticut Humanists Invite Grim Reaper to Dinner

Death Cafes: Connecticut Humanists Invite Grim Reaper to Dinner

This post, written by Anita Peters, originally appeared on TheHumanist.com. So many of us are “dying” to talk about death but don’t know how, when, or with whom to begin the conversation. “Thinking about death is really about thinking about our lives and the lives of those whom we care about,” I told Dan Blinn (a fellow humanist celebrant in Hartford, Connecticut) and Chris Stedman (Yale’s humanist chaplain). We decided to start a series of so-called Death Cafes and invited humanists and the public to participate. At a Death Cafe, people come together, usually strangers, to share food and drink and to discuss their feelings and ideas about death. This is not a bereavement session. It’s an opportunity for communities to explore and reflect on life in the face of human mortality, to, as Blinn adds, “make people more aware about death with a view to helping people make the most of their lives.” We are participating in the Death Cafe movement, a life-affirming international social franchise started five years ago by Jon Underwood in London and later popularized by Lizzy Miles in the United States. Underwood developed the Death Cafe model based on the ideas of the Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz who, together with his anthropologist wife, studied funeral rites in their town and other cultures. When Crettaz’s wife died in 1999, he initiated meetings in local bistros to talk about death. From these first informal meetings, the Death Cafe model was born. Participants are seated at tables of six to ten participants, presided over by the organizer or a facilitator selected by the organizer. Refreshments are an...
A Reason Rally Wedding: Our Humanist Love Story

A Reason Rally Wedding: Our Humanist Love Story

This post, written by Anita Macauley and Gregg Casagrande, originally appeared on TheHumanist.com. Above, the couple with humanist celebrant David Williamson during their wedding at the 2016 Reason Rally. Secular and humanist groups mean a great deal to people, often being the one sure place where a person can connect with others who will be accepting and open to one’s views. Our story is no different. I, Anita Macauley, and my now husband, Gregg Casagrande, were searching for a community where we could make personal connections, engage in stimulating conversations, and find others with a worldview that matched our own. I was working in a very conservative, primarily Christian environment, where not too long ago there were before-work prayer meetings held weekly on our campus. Symbolism and talk of Christian ideals were ever-present. Gregg was coming out of a conservative, Catholic upbringing and lifestyle. He was once a Promise Keeper and attended Catholic educational institutions his whole life. The need for fellowship with other atheists and freethinkers was strong in both of us. Fortunately, we both found the Suncoast Skeptics, a freethought Meetup group in our area. We were fellow group members and friends for over a year. As we grew to know each other’s minds and hearts better, our relationship became closer and took a romantic turn. Having this friendship grow into something more within the close-knit and supportive community of our group has only reinforced the importance of these bonds. Our interest in providing community for fellow atheists and humanists has led us to work in leadership roles of our own group, Sarasota Manatee Atheists and Secular...