About Jeanne Rathbone

I have  been a Humanist celebrant for over 20 years. I have probably always been an atheist (despite having been brought up in Ireland) except for when, as a susceptible girl, I might have wanted to be a saint or a missionary. In time I came to see that religion was man made and patriarchal.

I became a humanist celebrant after having attended a few inappropriate religious funerals and joined the British Humanist Association. When they said they were looking for people to train as ceremony celebrants I trained and knew that I had found my ideal career – I knew what I wanted to be and reckoned that I must have ‘grown up’.  I have been a laboroatory technician, childminder, youth worker, Women’s officer, trainer, adult education tutor, counsellor, tour guide and comedy performer.

I don’t believe that children are born with a religion or ‘original sin’ and I find the idea of a ‘christening’ abhorrent as it represents infant exorcism. Children should be allowed to make up their own minds about what they believe as adults.

I believe that the rite-of-passage ceremonies, especially funerals, are of significance in our lives no matter who we are or where we are from. Although I have not put my name on the wedding celebrants list I still do conduct weddings for people I already know and have contact with.  However, I do conduct a Naming combined ceremony Naming/Wedding Vows ceremonies. This all-in-one ceremony celebrating a couple and their new family could replace a traditional wedding ceremony. It is the sensible, practical, rational, simple, inexpensive alternative to weddings for those who are cohabiting and have a child/children. They are less daunting to organise compared to a wedding and yet they are just as meaningful. I also can help couples write a wedding script for a family member/friend to act as celebrant. I have conducted weddings in Ireland.

I mainly conduct funerals and I think they are the most significant of our ceremonies. It is very rewarding to help people to say what needs to be said at a funeral and to celebrate the life of their loved one appropriately can help them in their bereavement. It had been so fascinating to learn about so many people’s lives that I don’t need to read fiction anymore.

Our ceremonies are very personal and I think that humour is an important ingredient in them, as it is in life.

My fees are £200  for Funerals and Namings.