The Civil Celebrant | The Civil Circle of Life | Part 3 of 4


Renewal of Vows

The same dilemmas are faced by couples who manage to reach milestone anniversaries. The current C of E ‚”Thanksgiving for A Marriage‚” ceremony begins with a formal prayer – if the couple are not regular church goers they may feel a little uncomfortable celebrating the longevity of their union in such a way. Much nicer perhaps for them to invite friends and family to a favourite beauty spot or to their own garden and be the focus of a ceremony written just for them? A bespoke Vow Renewal Ceremony will commemorate their love for each other and their proven commitment to each other – real life reflected in every aspect of the celebration.

The marriage ceremony is of course not the only service that is being scrutinised and found wanting. The traditional christening is also experiencing a decline and Princess Charlotte‚’s Christening earlier this year was the exception rather than the rule and not just because she is royal.

Although Christenings were already in decline in the latter half of the last century, one in three infants was still baptised into the Church of England in 1980. By 2011 that had fallen to just over one in 10.

This downward trend continues and when the time comes for new parents to formally welcome their child into the world their focus is now on the wonder of a new life rather than the infant‚’s connection to and acceptance into a religion. The fact that our society is a wonderfully mixed-bag of religions and customs cannot be ignored; the promises demanded of parents and potential guardians (formally known as God-Parents) during a Christening will no longer suit many extended families.

The issues are important but rather than depriving themselves of commemorating such a key event in their lives, these parents are seeking out Civil Celebrants to perform a Naming Ceremony. The ceremony is written after a consultation with the parents and usually the focus is on the miracle of new life, the promises they want to make to their infant and, if life guardians have been selected, confirmation of their promises to the parents and the child.

The civil approach to both of these life-changing events allows those who are celebrating to select a Celebrant who they feel they can trust and who they have an instinctive connection with. These are joyful occasions and if everybody involved with the preparation of the ceremony is completely relaxed and happy the magic happens! Heartfelt sentiments are written and then exchanged and life-long memories made!

Next Week | Part Four : Farewells & Funerals


See Part 1 | Challenging Tradition

See Part 2 | Choices? Make them personal!


Thanks to Kim Greenacre | Civil Celebrant | Celebrant House
Kim is a regular contributor to several magazines and a published poet. Kim is also a member of the UK Society of Celebrants and holds the Diploma in Family & Funeral Celebrancy awarded to Civil Celebrants.For more details about qualified Civil Celebrants in your area please click here.

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