I am a native and lifelong resident of Illinois and a certified Secular Celebrant with the Center for Inquiry (CFI). I received a religious education as the child of a Baptist minister, and I have previously served as a choir director and worship leader and even filled the pulpit on several occasions for a Baptist church. After a great deal of exploration and consideration, I have since left religion and now consider myself a freethinker, atheist, and secular humanist (among some other applicable labels).
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from Millikin University in 2009, I worked for five years in a rural high school, where I taught sophomore-, junior-, and senior-level English and coached students participating in the national Poetry Out Loud contest. As a pre-service and beginning teacher, I authored an education blog entitled Docere Est Discere, which won Scholastic Magazine’s award for Best Student Teaching Blog in 2009.
My interest in becoming a secular celebrant stems from my background in public speaking and poetry as an English teacher, my experience as the child of a minister and former occasional preacher, and my interest in helping fill a void for secular people in commemorating significant life events. I hope to provide an offering to the central Illinois area that has not previously been available for both secular individuals and for religious individuals who want to avoid the trappings of a religious ceremony in favor of a religiously neutral one.
I also hope to utilize my experience as a writer and writing instructor to help individuals and couples customize ceremonies to match their unique interests, needs, and backgrounds.
Presently, I am employed as a web developer and spend much of my spare time as a musician. I am also currently in a mixed belief (religious/secular) marriage with my lovely wife Courtney, with whom I have two sons.
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