About the Celebrant Foundation & Institute
In the early 2000s, philanthropists Gaile and Pat Sarma Charlotte Eulette and Cindy Reed founded the Celebrant Foundation and Institute (CF&I) in the USA—a non-profit educational organization dedicated to training and certification of professional officiants (called Life-Cycle Celebrants®).
However, the Celebrant Movement emerged in the early 70s in Australia, the first country to embrace the concept of non-religious celebrants with the specific intention that they create ceremonies that could be as rich of a cultural perspective and, if necessary, as solemn as traditional religious ceremonies; in other words, these ceremonies were not to be lower both in substance and in form in religious ceremonies.
In the 90s, Dally Messenger—the most famous Australian celebrants—did much to propagate the movement celebrating internationally, notably in the USA, a real melting pot, where the concept has quickly gained momentum.
So, it is in June 2001 that the American Celebrant Foundation & Institute opened in Montclair, New Jersey, after Gaile Sarma had asked Dally Messenger to assist in starting the Civil Celebrant Movement in the USA. Thus the 54 early American celebrants were graduates of the International College of Australian Celebrancy in 2002.
The CF&I is based on the premise that a ceremony should be a genuine expressions of the people concerned. Moreover, CF&I is convinced that to mark life important moments through customized, thoughtful ceremony strengthens the bonds of families, partnerships and communities and deepens the human connection across generations… the essence of what it means to be human, regardless of religious, cultural and ethnic background, or sexual orientation.
As explained by Charlotte Eulette, CF&I international director, and one of the firs American celebrants: "A ceremony designed by a celebrant is a ceremony that represents the honoree with authenticity. It is this authenticity that gives them and their loved ones joy. Whatever people want, we give them."
The Life-Cycle Celebrants® certification program is taught live, on-line via an interactive format by seasoned Celebrant faculty members. Courses are offered in several languages and students complete a college-level training. The CF&I provides also a learning environment that encourages lifelong learning.
Training time is about7 months. The program covers the basics of ceremonial and ritual areas (e.g. the study and analysis of anthropological and sociological research, ritual and ceremonial structures, elements that compose a ceremony or ritual, secular and interfaith traditions, ceremonial writing, public speaking... Then splits into specialties, such as marriage, families and children, funeral, etc. to extend to less traditional events such as divorce, retirement, commemorations for pets, healing ceremonies...
It is to be noted that the CF&I emphasizes the design and development ceremonies and rituals outside religious context, as well as learning by experience.