Unitarian Lay Chaplains


            Russell McNeil

Dr. Russell McNeil

Dr. Russell McNeil

I have had the privilege of serving as a Lay Chaplain at FUFON for the past several years. The rites of passage that I have officiated have included both marriages and memorials. These services have all been deeply moving and joyful for participants, family and friends. Unitarian facilitated ceremonies are designed to allow you to validate and to elevate those values that you experience as meaningful and life defining. As a Lay Chaplain I like to offer a simple framework for any ceremony, but the ceremony itself comes to life and has meaning only when your personal sense of “sacred” is shared with friends and family. That sacred expression comes in many forms: in poetry, in music, and often in simple personal prose. Allowing the heart to speak out in this personal way is the most powerful aspect of a Unitarian service. The spirituality we all experience as a consequence of these ceremonies comes not from the service leader – or from any church for that matter – it comes rather from that unique place that is at the centre of every human life: our own loving heart.”

           Anne K. Morrison

Anne K. Morrison

I am delighted to represent our First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo as a Lay Chaplain. We are a welcoming congregation which is proud to connect with people of all ages, sexual preferences, and abilities. I am a professional social worker, with a Masters in Social Work degree, and over 40 years experience as a therapist for individuals, couples, and families. I maintain my own private counselling practice in the seaside village of Chemainus.

Throughout my career, I have worked with people of all ages and abilities in a wide array of settings. What drew me to the Lay Chaplaincy role is my passion for helping people to experience meaningful events in their lives. I feel privileged to have the honour to help individuals put together a ritual that expresses their unique values and preferences to mark their event. I love making authentic contact with people and building fulfilling relationships. I am comfortable putting people at ease, so that together, we can co create something wonderful, and beautifully memorable, to mark their special occasion. To me there is nothing more sacred than the authentic human encounter and the joy of honouring special relationships.

Please contact our lay chaplains at: laychaplain@ufon.ca

Services Provided by Our Lay Chaplains


Take the concern and the uncertainty out of planning your wedding service.

Lay Chaplains are licensed to marry you by the Province of British Columbia, and will work with you to create a ceremony that fits your needs and dreams. They will provide you with many choices of elements for your ceremony, including spiritual elements. They encourage the participation of friends and family at various stages of the service, if that is your desire. They can also incorporate traditions and customs from various religions, faiths and cultures into your service, if that is your desire.

Our Lay Chaplains are very happy to perform weddings for any two people who wish to dedicate themselves to each other – this includes same-gender couples. Our goal is to co-create a ceremony that expresses your deepest intentions as individuals and as a couple.

Child or Baby Naming

Share the miracle of your child’s life in a meaningful ceremony.

The birth of a child is a gift of life, which is often expressed in the name your child will be given.
Our Lay Chaplains will work with you to create a service that speaks to the commitment of the significant people in your child’s life.

Memorials and Celebrations of Life

Honour your loved one in a service that is true to your beliefs.

Saying good-bye to a loved one is always a very stressful time.
Our Lay Chaplains offer compassionate support and experience in planning a memorial service or Celebration of Life that is meaningful for the participants.

Other Rites of Passage

Create ceremonies recognizing significant life passages.

Our Lay Chaplains are willing to work with individuals and families to create a memorable service for events such as reaffirming vows, dissolution of a relationship, coming of age, loss of a pet, graduation, new home blessings or retirement.

Please contact us if you have any inquiries about our services. We will respond quickly.