What happens at a Humanist Wedding?

Humanist weddings have been legal in Scotland since 2005. It took only ten years for them to become the second most popular form of marriage in the country, and – in Scotland at least – they’ve almost become ‘the new normal’. I meet lots of couples who’ve only ever been to humanist weddings, but – […]

Spiritual but not Religious

I meet a lot of people who describe themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’. As organised religion continues to decline in the Western World, it’s becoming much more normal, but despite that I was surprised when my friend Onie told me that she was starting a new organisation called ‘Agnostic Scotland’.I have always believed agnosticism […]

It’s time to celebrate, people!

I’m delighted to announce that from now on, I will be a celebrant with Celebrate People, a new Humanist organisation led by two of Scotland’s best loved celebrants, Susan and Gerrie Douglas Scott. If you think you’ve heard those names before, it’s probably because you have. They were the first same sex female couple to be […]

The D Word

I heard an interesting story on the radio this morning: it seems that BBC’s Sunday Programme on Radio 4 has commissioned its own research into the statistics and found that couples who choose to marry in a Humanist ceremony are up to four times less likely to divorce. You can read the full story here and […]

Grayson Perry – Rites of Passage

I’ve long been a fan of Grayson Perry. Not just of his work as a potter which is as subversive as it is beautiful, but also of his clear-eyed attempts to understand and explain the human condition. He’s a gifted communicator, whose easy directness allows him to connect with people from all cultures and walks of life, and […]

A humanist

Tom Leonard is a Glaswegian poet whose work deserves to be better known – and I am talking to myself here as much as you. I thought I knew his writing quite well, until I came across this today: it’s a wonderful, thought-provoking poem and I am delighted that he has given me permission to […]

Royal Wedding Vows

Congratulations to Meghan Markle! As the first bride who isn’t promising to ‘obey’ her husband, she’s made headlines around the world, as in this story from The Guardian. It’s no small thing, in the context of a traditional Church of England wedding, but it did make me smile. Since 2005, I’ve conducted more than twelve hundred […]

Humanism in Pastoral Care

I am more than a little confused however, by Humanism, which implies a much sharper-edged conception of identity.   I wish it were more. As a humanist celebrant I rarely meet anyone who actively identifies as humanist, which is why my reaction on these occasions is one of surprise as delight.   My lift-pitch version goes like […]

Let’s do lunch…

I missed the official Chaplaincy lunch this Christmas, but to make up for it, Bulletin, the University’s Staff Magazine, treated me to lunch with one of my chaplaincy colleagues, Irene Cotugno, who is the Baha’i Belief Contact. The Baha’i faith originated in Persia at the end of the 19th century, and it has three core beliefs: the […]