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Humanist ceremonies welcome babies and adopted children.
Weddings and affirmations, often referred to as blessings, are celebrated, and lives appreciated at Humanist secular funerals and memorial gatherings. See the special pages for Humanist Secular Funerals and Invocations.
The ceremony is usually conducted by an experienced Officiant and arranged with a Humanist society. Families can, of course, arrange the whole event themselves.
Ceremonies for New Arrivals
A family ceremony held soon after a birth is an occasion to celebrate the baby’s safe arrival. It is also an opportunity for the parents, relatives and friends to welcome the new arrival and to declare their commitment to protecting the child and promoting its welfare.
The ceremony expresses these feelings in a special open and formal way. Like all Humanist ceremonies one of welcome is especially composed for the circumstances and individual people taking part on that unique occasion and is, of course, entirely secular. Sometimes several babies among a group of friends have a shared ceremony of welcome together. At the ceremony parents can declare, in their own words, their commitment to the new arrival and their acceptance of responsibility for the child’s well-being during the years leading to maturity. The words are usually spoken among close family and friends, who have particular concern and affection for the parents, for any other children they may have, and the new one.
Many Humanists take up the suggestion of having one or more friends to act as ‘supporting adults’ as secular ‘god parents’. The role of these friends is for them to take a special interest in the child’s development and to give support to the parents; and can be there as a refuge for the child outside the immediate family circle. The ceremony can be conducted by a recognised Humanist officiant or by a close friend or member of the family.
Organising Your Own Family Ceremonies
For those people who wish to arrange celebrations and ceremonies marking important personal events there are leaflets and books of practical advice available from Humanist societies.
There is useful information for everyone responsible for these events, often arranged to mark important milestones in our lives, particularly those of birth, marriage, affirmation and deaths. New Arrivals by Jane Wynne Willson and Robert Ashby is a guide to secular Naming Ceremonies. Sharing the Future by Jane Wynne Willson covers Humanist wedding and affirmation ceremonies. The foreword is by Claire Rayner and the ISBN number 0-901825-11-5. Funerals Without God also by Jane Wynne Willson covers funeral ceremonies and memorial gatherings. The ISBN number is 0 901825 14 X. Seasons of Life is a book of prose and poetry for secular ceremonies and private reflection compiled by Nigel Collins with a preface by Tony Harrison, co-editors Jim Herrick and John Pearce. ISBN: 0 301 00001 8.