Many years ago I decided I would become a celebrant for the BHA. The experience of an absolutely brutal religious funeral left me reeling. Thankfully, this was followed by several heartwarming and, oddly, life-affirming Humanist funerals.
Several years later, here I am, repaying the debt. I’m not just doing funerals. I also do baby namings and welcomings as well as weddings. All significant milestones are worthy of a ceremony. If you have an idea you want to explore with me, just get in touch.
I’ve been training indirectly for celebrancy since I was in my twenties. I was an actor for twelve years. I left the theatre in 1987 to make space for my writing. Since then I’ve had seven poetry collections published. My fiction also appears in a number of anthologies and fiction magazines. I’ve worked as a writer in residence in a prison and various hospitals and I run writing workshops from time to time in schools and community centres. You can see some of the work I do if you click on my website opposite.
I’m interested in how we as human beings make sense of our lives. I’m interested in how we pass things on from generation to generation, how we learn to be friends, good neighbours, good parents, good partners. I’m equally fascinated by how we get things wrong! Humanity is complex.
I come from a tradition of Humanist thinking. My great-grandfather was an admirer of Robert Ingersoll. He had this to say:
This day shall be mine. From the first gray streak of its early dawn till the last golden ray of its setting sun melts away on the horizon of the West, it shall belong to me.
With charity for all, I will go my way, following the dictations of my own conscience; and strive with all my power to lift my fellow-man from the darkness that surrounds him.
I will live so that should tomorrow dawn, I may look upon to-day with a feeling that I have added my humble mite to the cause of Justice and Humanity.
And it shall bring me much joy.
— Thomas Heath Flood
That’s not a bad philosophy.
And here’s my motto: Carpe diem. Seize the day! But don’t just seize it — make it count.
My name is Janette Smith and I am pleased to welcome you to my webpage.
I am a humanist and believe that our world is about humans relating to each other in a positive and caring fashion. I am accredited to offer ceremonies for both funerals and weddings.
Although both types of ceremony are different, the key feature that they have in common is that they are uniquely personal. They are also both very relevant ceremonies for both are parts of a ‘rite of passage’ through life and provide a very special service to those I am working with.
Both types of service, a funeral or a wedding, creates an opportunity to provide a ceremony that is both warm and sincere and which is both inclusive and non-religious. Both types of ceremonies can involve readings, poetry, music and a tribute or stories which are important to the family or to the couple.
I am a mother and grandmother and have been been married for over 40 years, so it is true to say that I understand family relationships only too well. I have over 35 years experience of teaching in schools and colleges throughout Hertfordshire. This background also means that I am familiar with communicating and working with all types of individuals and responding to their needs.
During my life, like so many people of my age, I have lost loved ones. When my father died in 1979, his funeral ceremony made no mention of what a great chap he had been and what a good job he had done of being a dad. This omission has very much been my motivation in wanting to deliver funerals which families can remember as a personal tribute to their loved one, shared with all those present.
I chose to train in conducting wedding ceremonies because I believe in helping couples to devise a ceremony which they will remember for all of their life. The right wedding ceremony marks the beginning of life’s next adventure and should be as personal and unique as they would want it to be.
I have been accredited by the British Humanist Association as a celebrant and this allows me to offer a professional and personalised service. Whatever type of ceremony my aim is to visit clients and help them express their ideas, allowing me to translate their thoughts, creating a meaningful outcome, in the form of a bespoke ceremony.
I am happy to travel any reasonable distance from my home in London Colney, St Albans.
You can contact me to discuss your needs or ask any questions on:
Landline: 01727 826921 or mobile: 07970 119876
email: [email protected]