Lay Chaplaincy

Since 1971, the Canadian Unitarian Council has had a program which provides training and support to lay members of our congregations who are willing and able to officiate at rites of passage including (but not limited to) weddings, child dedications and memorial services. Our lay chaplains are pleased to provide this outreach service to those who want a religious ceremony. In congregations without professional ministry, lay chaplains provide rites of passage to members as well as the public.

If you are curious to learn more about the Lay Chaplaincy program you may be interested in reading “Celebrating 35 Years” a special 4-Page supplement to The Canadian Unitarian from 2005.
Or check out these snapshots from the Lay Chaplain experience, which were on display at the CUC’s 2014 Annual Conference:

Seeking Lay Chaplaincy Services

Lay chaplains are happy to perform ceremonies to mark the significant rites of passage we celebrate and solemnize together. This section has information about the rites of passage ceremonies that lay chaplains perform, as well as instructions for finding a local lay chaplain in your area.

In addition, is a Unitarian-inspired website which offers a readily available source for templates for every ritual imaginable. Created by Amanda Tarling with support from Liz James, the site has rites from a Birthingway for a pregnant mother about to give birth to a ceremony to celebrate an elder and a Croning celebration. This site is available for all to use.

Step By Step Guide for Appointing a New Lay Chaplain

This page guides Congregational Lay Chaplaincy Committees and prospective lay chaplains through the process to become an active officiant.

Resources for Congregations

The CUC provides support and information for congregations and their local Lay Chaplaincy committees and programs. Resources found here include:

  • Congregational Lay Chaplain Manual
  • Guidelines for running a Lay Chaplaincy program
  • Information about recruiting lay chaplains
  • Forms required for formalizing lay chaplains’ responsibilities

Information for Lay Chaplains

This page offers information relevant to current and prospective lay chaplains. Information found here includes:

  • Lay chaplain responsibilities
  • The Lay Chaplain Code of Conduct
  • Application for new lay chaplains
  • Guides for creating meaningful ceremonies
  • Upcoming trainings offered by the CUC

Lay Chaplaincy Training

The Lay Chaplaincy Training page has information about the different types of training and workshops periodically offered by the CUC. For upcoming Lay Chaplaincy training events, check out the calendar

For more information contact the Lay Chaplaincy Committee at