Magazine article Free Inquiry

Center for Inquiry Hosts First Welcoming Celebration

Magazine article Free Inquiry

Center for Inquiry Hosts First Welcoming Celebration

Article excerpt

On September 23, 1995, a secular humanist Welcoming Celebration was held for CODESH Chairman Paul Kurtz's grandson, Jonathan Kurtz, Jr., in the Center for Inquiry Library. The celebration was largely composed by Gretchen and Jonathan Kurtz, using the humanist guide book New Arrivals, with additions by Matt Cherry, who also acted as the Celebrant, or Master of Ceremonies. The celebration was arranged to maximize the participation of family members, who contributed through songs, poems, and dedications.

The guest of honor, Jonathan Kurtz, Jr., slept soundly throughout the celebration. Below we publish some of the remarks:

PAUL KURTZ: May I say how pleased we are to see everyone here today to participate in this welcoming celebration for Jonathan Kurtz, Jr., who was born July 12, 1995, and is now ten weeks old.

This is an historic occasion. It is the first official event in this Center for Inquiry since its dedication in June. It is also the first celebration sponsored by the Center for Inquiry. The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism has decided to make available secular celebrations to mark the passages of time - celebrations of weddings, graduations, rites of puberty, funerals, and welcomings. And this is the most joyful - for it introduces a new baby to the relatives and friends of Gretchen and Jonathan Kurtz, St. The celebration has several purposes: to affirm our commitment to the good life; to express our love for Jonathan, Jr.; to have Gretchen and Jon publicly declare their responsibility and devotion to Little Jonnie; and to have a good time.

This is a humanist celebration, available to all people. Its symbol is the Happy Human. Jonnie is not being baptized or circumcised - he is simply being welcomed into the human family.

MATT CHERRY: We are here today to celebrate the birth of Jonathan Robert Paul Kurtz and to welcome him into the world. Gretchen and Jon have chosen his middle names, Robert and Paul, in honor of his two most remarkable grandfathers and in the hope that he may someday emulate their great character and achievements. They have also expressed this hope for Jonathan with regard to his exceptional grandmothers, Maria and Claudine.

Little Jonathan may be too young to remember today, but it is still a very special day for him, because today his family and friends affirm their commitment to his future; a commitment to help him live a fully and happy life. It is also a very special day for Jonathan's parents, who are celebrating the birth of their first child. So I am delighted that Gretchen and Jon have taken the lead in composing this celebration and chosen to take the main role themselves.

GRETCHEN and JONATHAN: We are glad that you are able to be here this afternoon to make this a special day for us, a special time when we can all celebrate the safe arrival of a new member of our family into the world. And although he will have no direct memory of this occasion, we hope you will help us to provide a small memento of today by writing a note to him in our welcoming book, before you leave.

[Gretchen and Jon present Jonathan, Jr., with a rose.] The flower represents the beauty of life. …

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