Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Light For Aleppo

Watching the war in Syria for the last four years has been depressing, frustrating and disempowering, but Harriet Harris, my friend and colleague at the University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy Centre, has come up with a great initiative, which we launched this evening on the beach in North Berwick.

It's called A Light For Aleppo, and it's intended to show the people there that while we can do no more than donate to organisations like Medicins Sans Frontieres or Oxfam, both of whom are working in the region, they are in our thoughts.


We lit the first beacon this evening. 


On Sunday 20th November, we will light many more.


If you'd like to get involved, you can organise your own event, or at the least, light a candle in your window, photograph it, and share it on social media with the hashtag, #alightforaleppo


Let's make this light travel round the world!



Sunday, 23 October 2016

Are you a Humanist?

There are lots of definitions of what humanists believe.

The Amsterdam Declaration is the best known, but when we at the CHA decided to give free membership to anyone who wants it, we decided to give a simpler definition, and here it is.


Most humanist organisations define themselves by what they're not and what they don't  believe in.

We think it's better to stand for what we do believe in. It's pretty simple.

If you think it sounds like you, please join us

You can print your card out, frame it and hang it in your hall, or you can just upload it to your social media site of choice and hang it on your wall.

Have fun, and enjoy your life: it's the only one you have!



Thursday, 20 October 2016

Holly and Craig's Humanist Wedding at The Signet Library

The Signet Library is one of Edinburgh's most elegant settings for a wedding, well worth travelling half the way around the world for, as Holly and Craig did: all the way from Brisbane in Western Australia.

They did a lot of things differently right from the get go when Craig came in with his parents, followed by their wedding party and finally Holly with her parents, all to the sound of Stand Up by The Prodigy - definitely not your run of the mill wedding tune!

They  both chose to speak: after I introduced the wedding party, Craig took a couple of minutes to tell their story, and Holly read "Once in a Lifetime". They wrote wonderfully personal and original vows too.

Along with these beautifully expressive photos by Orange Lemur, Holly sent me these thoughts.

 We absolutely loved our wedding and we both feel like the actual day went perfectly.  


As a child of divorced parents, my mum always said that marriage was ‘just a piece of paper', so when Craig proposed I was more excited at the commitment to be together, and wasn’t too fussed about the actual wedding day.  


However, the actual day was so much more than I could have ever anticipated.


All the old cliches were true - ‘it’s expensive’,  ’the day goes so fast’,  ‘you never get to speak to everyone’.


But, it was an utterly perfect way to honour the 6 years we have been together, and to celebrate committing to an eternity more!  


Making our own vows was essential to our ceremony.  We didn’t feel the need to stand on tradition and instead really wanted to focus on what ‘the marriage of Craig and Holly’ was going to be about.  It felt fantastic and liberating to say everything I did in front of all our friends and family. 


Looking back, I am glad that we stuck to our guns and did our wedding exactly how we wanted. We were true to who we are, and what our marriage means to us!”


Thank you very much for everything Tim.  It was definitely the hardest homework I have done! But a fantastic exercise to dig deep!


Thanks again Holly and Craig: your ceremony has already been sent to another couple who I think will be inspired by what you chose to say and do. That's another thing I love about this way of working. You draw from it, and you give back to it. So when your time comes, dig deep, and in turn you will inspire others by your example.


Thanks again to Joanna of Orange Lemur for the lovely pics: great work!

Claire and Devon's Humanist Marriage at the Royal College of Physicians

Devon and Claire met at University in St. Andrews.  They spent three years talking over Skype while Claire studied in Madrid, and Devo...