We live in a society where many individuals and families are no longer choosing to conform to and live by a single faith or belief. Increasingly, as Independent Celebrants, we are being asked to provide Agnostic ceremonies for families. Ceremonies that reflect the unique blend of individual and shared beliefs within couples and families, whether that include elements of faith-based, spiritual or non-religious ethos.
We are a group of Independent Celebrants who believe strongly that families should be able to decide how and where they choose to mark the momentous occasions in their lives, however big or small, religious or secular, traditional or unconventional. For those that do not ascribe to any one faith or a non-religious ethos, the ceremony they choose for their Wedding, Naming, Funeral, or any other meaningful life-transition event, should reflect and respond to their own varied, often multi-faceted, sometimes shared and occasionally contradictory beliefs. In short, we believe there should be an option for families to choose an Agnostic ceremony, one that puts them at the heart of their ceremony.
Until now, in Scotland, choice has been limited for any couple wishing to be legally married to opt for either a religious, inter-faith, or non-religious ceremony. There has been no legal option available to couples wishing to seal their marriage vows in an Agnostic ceremony that uniquely responds to and reflects their unique beliefs, values and wishes. Through Agnostic Scotland, we can now offer a legally-recognised and important additional option to families by providing Agnostic ceremonies that reflect and respond to their own beliefs, values and wishes, provided they adhere to our moral and ethical values.
Agnostic Scotland is a not-for-profit organisation. All our surplus is reinvested into our Community Fund and our Community Connection Gatherings. We believe passionately that all families should have access to affordable, meaningful, people-centred ceremonies. Through our Community Fund, we seek to offer affordable ceremonies to families who would otherwise find it hard to pay for them.
We believe in community. Through our Community Connection Gatherings we seek to bring communities together in a collaborative and non-judgemental way to build positive relationships, nurture individual and community health and well being, and protect and respect our natural environment. We aim to offer a wide range of donations-based wellbeing workshops, social events and gatherings across Scotland.
It is early days. We are delighted that through Agnostic Scotland, we are now able to apply for Marriage Licences to conduct legal Weddings for families choosing an Agnostic ceremony. Our goal within the next five years is to apply for a Permanent Marriage Licence for Agnostic Scotland.
We are in the process of establishing a Steering Group for Agnostic Scotland, which we hope will represent the wide diversity of individuals across Scotland and ensure that we are doing everything we can to reach all communities.
Our aim is to expand our network of Agnostic Scotland Celebrants. We will begin to recruit Independent Celebrants who have been formally accredited by a recognised training body and have a minimum of one year’s experience working in a way that matches our Agnostic Scotland values and ethos. We will initially welcome applications from Celebrants outwith the Lothians or those who will enable us to meet our aspiration to become a more diverse organisation. We will provide in-house training and ongoing CPD for all Agnostic Scotland Celebrants in return for a 10% donation to the Agnostic Scotland Community Fund for any ceremonies they conduct.