Humanist Celebrants -v- Independent Celebrants. What Do They Do?
The job of celebrant is still little-known in the UK, but in cases where people do have an idea of what you do, the usual response is ‘ah yes – you mean like a Humanist Celebrant?’
The answer to that is a bit yes, and a bit no. In essence, an independent celebrant fulfils the same role as a Humanist celebrant, but with some vital differences:
All celebrants provide funeral services, wedding blessings, renewals of vows, baby namings etc.
RELIGIOUS CONTENT – YES OR NO?
A humanist celebrant will only conduct a ceremony with no religious or spiritual content. Humanists do not have any mention of God, spirituality, an afterlife, ‘the other side’, a better place, prayers or any mention of deities, higher powers etc. It’s based on science, reason and available evidence, and encompasses agnosticism and atheism, whilst being an active and ethical philosophy for life.
An independent celebrant is free to conduct a ceremony without any, or with some religious or spiritual content. We are free to express our own beliefs and reflect those of the people for whom we are providing a service. The ceremony can be shaped to include any customs or religious beliefs you wish to include.
Humanists are trained in-house by the British Humanist Association, in accordance with their philosophies.
An independent celebrant will be trained by an independent organisation. There are several, but to my knowledge the best, most reputable association that I am aware of is the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants (FPC). This organisation provides exemplary, extensive training and follow up, plus a huge resource of material and support.
I cannot speak for other organisations, but Members of the FPC are also insured for £5m public liability.
WHERE DO WE FIND OUR WORK?
In the case of funerals, generally this is by referral from Funeral Directors. The rest of the work is a mixture of advertising, referrals, and direct marketing (like speaking to groups).