“When we mark an important event, we often want to involve our family and our friends. We want to share our emotions as we say ‘Hello’ to a new arrival, ‘Congratulations’ to a new couple, or ‘Farewell’ to a lost friend or relative: there is comfort in sharing those events. These days many people, who are approaching let’s say a joyful event, want to share their joy in a way that is honest to their ideas and perceptions – without hypocrisy.” Robert Jelley
Our local BHA accredited celebrants perform secular ceremonies. Their profiles and contacts details are listed here.
For a full list of local BHA celebrants click here.
Mick Chilvers. Funerals.
My name is Mick Chilvers and I am a Funeral Celebrant trained by Humanists UK. I am part of a national and local network of celebrants who promote Humanism through the delivery of Weddings, Namings and Funeral Ceremonies. A key focus of Humanists UK is its Ceremonies Work. It is a real privilege meeting families from all walks of life and hearing and then writing about the loved ones they have lost.
When I retired from the education sector and decided, with a colleague’s support, to become a Funeral Celebrant, I applied to do my training with what was then the British Humanists Association. The training I received was excellent and prepared me really well for the role.
I wanted to be trained and accredited by an organisation who expressed a philosophy I had always had empathy with: namely an inclusive, respectful and kind approach to others and an outlook on life that was based on reason, rationality and scientific evidence.
I feel that sometimes too much time is spent debating the “afterlife” when we should be focusing on the here and now of life and what it means to lead a “good” life. Understanding Humanism helps us do this.
Let’s hope it’s not too long before the central tenets of Humanism filter much more into the mainstream.
I am pleased to be part of the growing movement that is Humanism UK.
Laura Gimson. Weddings.
Mobile: 07876 682 747
Robert Jelley. Funerals, Weddings & Namings
Tel: 02476 453 832. Mobile: 07763 005 654
Eliza Johnson. Weddings
I became a Humanist Uk accredited wedding celebrant in June 2017. I chose to train as a wedding celebrant for the main 3 reasons. Firstly, because I’m a Humanist, secondly I fell in love with wedding ceremonies following my own marriage and finally the biggest motivator was to embrace more joy in my working life. After 23 years working as a Clinical Psychologist in the NHS, I was absolutely ready for something new in my working life and I certainly found it! You’re welcome to have a look at my web page for more information on my ceremonies.
I absolutely love the joy, diversity and challenge of working closely with people to create memorable wedding, partnership and vow renewal ceremonies. I’ve taken ceremonies for all types of people in all sorts of settings, from football stadiums to narrow boats, and love helping people to make their ceremony a central focus of their wedding day and not just a staging post to the party! I try to ensure all the ceremonies are inclusive and equality focussed, with more than a touch of humour and emotion, as befitting such a major life transition. I currently live in Coventry and most of my ceremonies have been in the Midlands, though I’ve officiated a legal ceremony in Scotland too, which was very exciting!! I originally come from Glasgow and hold out for the day when Humanist ceremonies are made legal in England and Wales. Until then, I’ll be keeping busy with our family project to spend the next year in Andalusia, Southern Spain. We’re going to renovating a house in the mountains near Granada, learn and live Spanish and hopefully establishing myself over there as a Humanista Oficiante Boda Symbolica!! What a mouthful but I like it! So if you know anyone who’d like to elope or have a Humanist Ceremony in the Spanish mountains or beach or want to know anything more, please get in touch.
Moira Pendlebury. Funerals
I trained as a Funeral Celebrant with Humanists UK in 2017. For me, conducting a funeral is about far more than the actual ceremony. People who have been bereaved need time, compassion and understanding. The role of a funeral celebrant is very privileged: to be able to spend time with those closest to the deceased person and work with them to create the right ceremony can help ease the way through this very painful time.
The shape, content and level of formality for each funeral are all completely flexible, and the deceased person remains at the heart of the event, with their life remembered and celebrated.
I originally trained and practiced as a social worker and have also worked for a local charity which provides support to family carers who look after a relative or friend who is disabled, frail or ill. I spent some years offering legal information and advice to older people and their families, with the latter part of my career spent as a senior manager for a local older people’s charity. My role as a funeral celebrant brings together all the skills, knowledge and experience acquired through this working lifetime and I am finding it to be my most rewarding role yet.
Having been an atheist for a long time, it was a relief to discover Humanism and I’ve become a school speaker to reassure pupils that it is absolutely possible to live a good life without a god.
Like most humanists, I have many other interests so it’s not just humanism which defines me. I support many pressure groups for both animal rights and human justice and am currently chair of the Mid-Warwickshire branch of Amnesty UK. I also am a member of many environmental groups, the future of our planet being a priority for me at the moment.
I live in Warwick with my husband and have two grown-up children.
Sylvie Summer. Funerals and memorials
Tel. 01788 877 568. Mobile. 07971 798 245
Plan for the inevitable
If you are reading this you may be:
• arranging a funeral or memorial service for someone who has died;
• supporting someone who is reaching the end of their life to plan their funeral or memorial service;
• thinking about what you want for yourself when the time comes.
I can help you with all of the above situations and also lead the funeral, burial or memorial service. I am often contacted by funeral directors, on behalf of next-of-kin who want a non-religious celebration of the life of their loved one.
Increasingly, though, family members contact me directly to discuss their wishes for a fitting and respectful ceremony.
Local Humanists and their work
He became Chief Executive in 2010 after five years coordinating Humanists UK’s education and public affairs work. Andrew is also President of Humanists International (formerly known as the International Humanist and Ethical Union – IHEU)
Together with A C Grayling, Andrew edited the Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Humanism (2015). His new book, Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom, was published in September 2017 by Oxford University Press. His writing on humanist and secularist issues has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, and New Statesman as well as in various journals.
Andrew has represented Humanists UK and the humanist movement extensively in national news including on BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Sky, as well as on programmes such as Newsnight, The Daily Politics, the Today programme, Sunday Morning Live, and The Big Questions.