ABOUT

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.

I am a non-profit leader with over twenty-five years experience in the Arts, Public Education, Human Services and Business Development sectors. Originally trained as a theater artist, my career has allowed to develop skills in event planning, program facilitation and project management. I have staged performances, coordinated social gatherings large (over a thousand) and small, and facilitated groups from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, to articulate and realize their creative visions, and to find authentic common ground.

Beginning in my teens, I found gaping holes of credibility in the Catholic faith of my upbringing and I struggled to find alternatives that could fulfill my own idea about ‘what was real’ without giving up the poetry, grandeur and fellowship of the religious tradition in which I’d been raised. As I gradually began to trust my own intellect and instinct, I discovered a world that resonated with meaning and beauty, without the guilt, ambiguity and hypocrisy that had been my experience of religion.


When my husband and I decided to marry, what I had ‘given up’ in rejecting religion came into sharp focus. Although we never considered or wanted a “traditional” wedding, getting married without any ritual seemed perfunctory. The dilemma we faced was pretty common – would we begin our publicly-sanctioned life together by conforming, and invoking a deity we didn’t believe in? Or settle for an impersonal and clinical civil ceremony that lacked the import we both felt about formalizing our union? Our journey to that day led us to Rich, a Humanist Celebrant who helped us to honor our minds as well as our hearts with a wonderful and meaningful ceremony overlooking New York's Hudson River Valley (on the same site we’d had our first kiss).


The process of planning our wedding helped me to understand what I already knew in my ordinary daily life – that the world we live in, the people we love and the bounty that surrounds us every day is more than enough to provide meaning to our lives. Rejecting religion didn’t require rejection of poetry, music, natural beauty, friendship, trust and love. I learned it is possible to commemorate the milestones of our lives in a manner that honors who we are and what we believe, while fully embracing the wonder and significance of these moments.  


Ten years later, I’ve had the distinct privilege of officiating over forty weddings, a few memorials and some new baby welcomings too. I’m honored and grateful to have participated in celebrations of such love and joy. 


I’d be pleased to discuss how I might help plan a ceremony for you!

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JILL RAFFERTY-WEINISCH

Certified Secular Celebrant

I am certified as a Secular Celebrant by the Humanist Society, an adjunct to the American Humanist Association.  You can read more about them, about Humanism, and about issues I care about at this website.

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