Hello my name is Dee Phillips,

I conduct Funerals, Memorials, Weddings and Naming Ceremonies in the South Wales area.

As a child I followed the path given to me by my parents and attended Sunday school. Many of us have no specific beliefs about religion but we feel we need to follow tradition sometimes out of duty for elders in the family. As a young adult I started to question some of the contradictions I saw in religion and found myself frequently questioning who or what is God?

At the age of 26 I lost my sister who was my best friend and confidante.  I sat at her funeral in the traditional family church with the traditional funeral format and wondered who the minister was talking about. Most of the funeral ceremony was about God and other non specific religious stuff.

I was confused and asked myself,

 How did this relate to the person I knew, her achievements and her contributions to the world?  

My sister was special, unique and had a wonderful zest for life, sense of humour and lots of other traits that I didn’t hear mentioned at the funeral.  I had so much to say and nobody had asked me to contribute. This was a religious funeral and the focus was very much on God, apart from a poem read by my uncle and a piano piece played by a friend. I felt a sense of disconnection; I couldn’t relate the readings to my sister at all.

I couldn’t put a name to the beliefs and values I had. I have friends with difference and diversity and embrace each and every person for who they are, not what I think they should be. I wondered how my wonderful friends who may be non conformist would fit into the Heaven or Hell that I had been taught about as a child. They were all good people, with open hearts and loving personalities. I was confused.  I began to wonder and ask myself:

What label would I give to myself and did it have a name?

In 2004, I found the answer when trying to organise my wedding.  By now I was adamant that a religious ceremony wasn’t the way to go. For many people they have been introduced to Humanism via a funeral as these are more common, but for me a wedding dilemma began to give me all the answers I had been seeking for many years. As time went by I attended many funerals, weddings and baby namings and realised that I was a Humanist and that a non religious ceremony which embraced difference, diversity and distinctiveness was an important way to mark milestones and significant events. Not only was the ceremony more person-centred but also it fitted with the deep values that I had about working together, embracing difference, diversity and distinction.

My choice of occupation as a nurse and a counsellor reinforced my beliefs and values that each and every individual has a special part to play in the drama of life and this journey both personally and professionally, led me to decide to train as a celebrant with the BHA.