One of the reasons you have come to the British Humanist website is that you want to acknowledge and celebrate the significance of an ancient rite of passage in a way which is true to your beliefs, rather than following a religious ceremony which is not for you. I hope I’ll be able to help you with what you want.
It’s only in the last few years that I’ve begun to call myself a humanist, because to be frank, I wasn’t really aware of the term. Despite having been christened and brought up in a family which would have ticked the C. of E. box on the census form, I have led my adult life without a belief or a need for a god. Like yourself probably, I’ve long thought that this is the one life we have, and I’ve tried to live it to the full, with personal responsibility, consideration for others, and respect for this truly awesome world around us.
I’m married with 3 children and 2 grand-children. After teaching foreign languages for many years, and working with young people who have a language and communication difficulty and often autism, I am now writing and conducting humanist naming, wedding and funeral ceremonies and also finding time to pursue my own interests: reading, gardening, walking, yoga, film and theatre, nature of all sorts (I’ve just bought 3½ acres of ancient woodland in deepest darkest Devon and it’s brilliant fun!) and of course, the family occupy a big chunk of my life.
The training which I received from the British Humanist Association was thought provoking, thorough and testing, in so many ways; rightly so as the ceremonies are centred on rituals which are incredibly important to us at different times of our lives. Writing and conducting these unique, personal ceremonies is an absolute privilege and very satisfying. Whichever ceremony you are looking for, the outcome will always be about what you want, with as much help and guidance as you need from me.
Throughout my career, whether working with adults or young people, I have needed to promote simple and effective communication. Whilst I love words and the musicality and significance of good language well used, if you can’t hear or understand what people say, the point is lost. What is said in these ceremonies and the stories and emotions which you are trying to communicate to your partner, family or your guests, is at the very heart of the ceremony.
And after the ceremony I will give you a presentation copy of the script which you can re-read and contemplate for many years into the future.
I work mostly within a 50-mile radius of my home in Wells, Somerset but I would travel further afield and abroad if we find that we are right for each other. I speak French, German and Italian and would be willing to use those languages in a ceremony.
My fees are in line with those recommended by the BHA in my area and apart from funeral fees which are usually paid directly by the funeral director, I will ask for a deposit on acceptance of the contract and the balance to be paid before the ceremony. In circumstances where there is more travel required I would ask for travel expenses and possibly bed and breakfast accommodation.
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