Religious family members


Many parents who approach me have come from religious families but either are not religious themselves, or they have an interfaith relationship and want to include both sides. They are usually having a ceremony because that feels normal to them and they appreciate the importance of marking the occasion and naming godparent equivalents. 

This is fantastic and I am very happy to help. Often however, one parent or another may warn me that they have a relative who is nervous or unhappy about the choice to have a Humanist ceremony.

Sometimes the relative is just disappointed that the child won't be given the traditional ceremony of their faith. This is unfortunate, but there are ways we can soften the blow. For example, although I won't read religious content myself, I am happy to introduce another person to read a prayer or reading during the ceremony, or to play a piece of religious music. It's also possible to include a moment of quiet reflection on a suitable topic, during which guests are welcome to pray if they wish. 

Another reason may be a poor understanding of Humanism. One parent I was speaking to recently said she had to explain to her mother that Humanism wasn't some kind of alternative religion or cult. If you think your family may have misconceptions about Humanism I can include a few words in my introduction to explain the philosophy and help clear up any worries about that.

Finally, there can be a concern that a non-religious ceremony will feel superficial or insubstantial. As Humanism is a philosophy based on a profound ethical tradition, it is entirely appropriate to include a short section in a Humanist ceremony that talks about wider topics such as equality, compassion and care for our natural world. I can write something appropriate, or you can choose a reading that reflects your views.

Of course, however well we prepare, we can't control everyone's reactions to the ceremony. However, I want to work with you to craft an experience that you are happy with and if that means editing the script with a religious family member in mind, then that's fine by me.