Pittsburgh Freethought Community
Promoting Science, Reason and Secular Humanist Values
in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

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Providing Secular Celebrants

Did you know that you don't need a priest/ rabbi/ imam/ minister/JP/judge - INDEED ANYBODY! - to officiate at your wedding or other life event?

Under Pennsylvania marriage law, couples wishing to nix an officiant, religious or otherwise, can obtain a self-uniting license, which varies from the traditional form only in wording, and perform their ceremony in front of at least two witnesses who are required to sign the document.  According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania’s website, the tradition of self-uniting marriage originated in 1681 with its roots in the state’s Quaker population. Because this religious sect does not have ministers, Quakers have traditionally “self-united” in marriage.  Religious celebrants are not required to officiate at other life events either. 

But what if you wish to celebrate your event and express YOUR values beyond just signing a piece of paper?

That's where a secular or humanist celebrant comes in! A secular or humanist celebrant plays a role similar to that of traditional clergy with one major difference: humanist ceremonies express our positive, life-affirming, pro-human philosophy instead of traditional religion. Humanist celebrants conduct humanist, nonreligious, and interreligious weddings, commitment ceremonies, memorials for people and pets, baby namings, coming-of-age celebrations, and other life cycle commemorations. Humanist celebrants are generally recognized in all states and many countries and accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to priests, ministers, and rabbis of traditional religions.

PFC might be able to provide a celebrant for your event!

PFC is excited to begin providing secular/ humanist celebrants for our members and the broader community. As this is a new program for us, we're still gathering information about the training, certifications, and experience of those of us who will be acting as celebrants.  Nonetheless, please contact us at info@pghfreethought.org to discuss your potential event and learn if we might be able to recommend a celebrant who could meet your needs. 

Per our bylaws, the PFC Activism and Social Justice Committee is responsible for organizing PFC efforts and events that fall within the umbrella of “activism” as opposed to educational or social.  Activism may require in-person participation at a specific time and place, or the encouragement of PFC members and stakeholders to take independent actions such as contacting a government official. These efforts and events may include participation with other groups’ organized events or at events wholly conducted by PFC. The Chair may appoint any number of Organizers to manage specific one-time or recurring events such as a specific Meetup or FB event.

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