Meet Elisabeth

Elisabeth Iribe

As a Humanist Celebrant, I provide thoughtful, personalized officiant services to all those who want a secular ceremony marking life events. I joyfully officiate LGBTQ weddings and serve people of all or no religious traditions, including those who identify as humanist, atheist, and agnostic. I am committed to collaborating with people from all walks of life to create meaningful and satisfying ways to honor milestones, transitions, and significant life events. It is my privilege to listen deeply to you, to hear your story, and to discern the themes inherent in your life’s path. Having full rights and responsibilities of clergy, I am authorized to minister to the ceremonial needs of all seeking my services.

Personal and Professional Background

I met my husband when we were both undergrads in Indiana. We married two weeks after graduation and have been working hard on our relationship, parenting, and home improvement projects ever since. Marriage is not a happy ending unto itself and I am ever grateful that we have been able to grow together and share this life for almost 20 years while each growing independently.

Our mixed-race romance sometimes created difficulties for us in the heart of the Midwest in the mid 1990’s and I remember occasionally being frightened and saddened by people’s reactions to us. I am keenly aware that our marriage would have been illegal just one generation prior, and supporting marriage equality was one of my motivating factors in becoming a celebrant.

Prior to opening my celebrancy practice, I spent the majority of my professional career in the adult education field with positions in training, communications, and management. I traded in the stability of regular employment for the adventure of full-time parenting after our twins were born and my daughter’s Spina Bifida and complicated health needs required more of me than I could give while working full time. I have since been writing part time on a freelance basis and also have two fiction manuscripts in the drawer, where they shall remain.

Born-Again Believer to Secular Humanist

I grew up in various evangelical protestant churches, “took Jesus into my heart” at age four, and was baptized in Lake Michigan as a teen. My family moved several times during my youth and we found our church homes in Baptist, Nazarene, and Missionary congregations.

family

my family

Whatever you believe about the role of religion in our society, there is no denying that churches do community well. As I matured, I began to have a very difficult time reconciling the teachings of religion with my understanding of the world, but the joy of fellowship and comfort of belonging kept me in the fold for many years. When I finally came to see the doctrine and dogma as untenable and could no longer go through the motions, community is what I missed the most.

Ironically, it was the birth of our first child and the pressure to dedicate him to a church family that truly crystallized my secular values. My husband and I agonized over missing out on having our son welcomed into community, but were very reluctant to make a public commitment and testimony we didn’t fully believe in. We never regretted holding fast but years later, when our second and third children were born, we again grieved the absence of an alternative to the traditional religious baby dedication ceremony. If only we had known a Humanist Celebrant then!

Work With Me

It brings me great joy to offer my professional celebrant services to others who, for whatever reason, seek to honor the human experience and celebrate the journey of life in community outside a faith-based tradition. If you’re eager to embrace the meaning in your life and to connect more deeply with others, you’ve found a kindred spirit in me. I’m passionate about this work and look forward to collaborating with you to create a ceremony to celebrate or commemorate the most significant milestones of your life.


About Humanist Celebrants

A Celebrant is a trained ceremony expert, officiant and congregational leader. Our mission is to create a ceremony that reflects the unique needs, beliefs, cultural background, value, and tastes of those involved. A Humanist Celebrant is also an ambassador and scholar of humanism. Humanist Celebrants are endorsed and trained by the Humanist Society, an arm of the American Humanist Association, and are legally equivalent to ordained clergy and entitled to all privileges under the law in all 50 states, including clergy confidentiality and solemnization of weddings and funeral rites. Click here to read more about Humanism.