About Cath Sutherland

I decided I would like to conduct non-religious ceremonies because people who are not believers still want to mark the big events in their lives just like everyone else, but  often find it hard to think of a sincere and beautiful full way to do it. Humanist ceremonies do just that. They are not hostile to religion, they just celebrate or commemorate without religion coming into it.

The big life events like the arrival of a child, or marriage, or a death should be celebrated in a way that is genuine and meaningful to us. These are important events and we need to get them right.

I have always been an atheist, like my Dad; but I believe in religous tolerance and freedom of worship, and many of my friends believe in God, and worship regularly.  I make a point of welcoming people of all beliefs to ceremonies I conduct.

I have been a celebrant since 2005 and find it very rewarding.

I try to help bereaved people to make the funeral of someone very dear to them as good a recollection of their life, and an acceptance of their death, as is possible in a short ceremony.  Everyone’s life is truly memorable in some way, and a humanist ceremony tries to capture that for each person. I work with the family to try to make each funeral the way the family would like it to be. I concentrate very hard on getting the tribute to a deceased person to  reflect what the family have tried to get across to me about what that person was like.  I always encourage families to chose poems themselves.  If they do want suggestions there are so many very moving beautiful poems that flipping through the books looking for one that is right for that particular person is a very intense. Families usually find it much easier to decide what music would be right for the occasion.

Naming and weddings are happy occasions. I try to bring out what the event means to the parents or couples.

Namings are an opportunity for parents to make personal and individual commitments to their child (as well as being a celebration of their birth). One of the joys of parenthood is that parents can decide  themselves how they believe their child should be raised, and what they would like to give their child in the years ahead.

Weddings are the public confirmation of a very private bond between two people, and each couple can make this ceremony reflect their own feelings and personalities. Shaping each ceremony to fit the couple concerned is part of the pleasure of writing and performing it.

I am married with two adult children, and we have lived in Nottingham for over twenty years.  I have worked as a charity fundraiser for most of the last fifteen years, but also as a teacher/lecturer in Economics, and have done various other jobs.  I am interested in environmental issues and am active in Greenpeace as well as in some local community activities. I also love painting and writing.