Life Passages Ceremonies

Every significant stage of life is marked by a ceremony. At Ethical NYC, we see this on a daily basis. Whether it’s a bris, a bar- or bat-mitvah, a birthday party, anniversary, or a memorial, we recognize and understand the personal significance of each. The versatility of our spaces makes NYSEC a perfect venue for any life passage ceremony. Adler Study and Elliott Library are elegant rooms suited for more intimate gatherings. Ceremonial Hall welcomes up to 150 guests. Our famed Concert Hall has hosted various life passage events for several hundred people. Social Hall, with its open floor plan, is highly functional.

For those interested in marking important life passages, the Ethical Culture Society has Leaders and officiants available to preside and help you plan personal and meaningful occasions. For more information contact Maggie Determann in the Leaders' Office.

For inquiries about hosting and planning a ceremony, please contact Rentals Manager Marie Orraca.

Ethical Culture Weddings

Our weddings are creative, respecting the individuality of each member of the couple, as well as the ethical commitment of the union. Shared values are the foundation of an Ethical Culture wedding. We specialize in customized ceremonies for couples of different religious backgrounds and genders, no particular religious connection, and others who want a non-traditional, humanistic, spiritual ceremony. Ethical Culture Leaders and officiants are authorized under the New York State law to perform weddings

Officiants are available upon request. Please visit our Weddings page, view our Weddings Brochurevisit us on Facebook, or contact us for more information.

We also offer lovely spaces for your ceremony. Please visit Rentals to learn more.

Baby Naming and Welcoming

These ceremonies recognize the joy and commitment of parenting. By introducing the child formally to family, friends, and community, the ceremony recognizes the child as a person of worth, dignity, and uniqueness.  For new parents, this may also be the first step of a formal commitment to their child’s ethical development.  Parents meet with a leader or officiant to create the ceremony, which can be private or interwoven with the Sunday Meeting.

Coming of Age

The Ethical Culture community strives to support adolescents in this most formative period of their lives. The ceremony may be connected to the Ethics for Children Sunday School program, or it may be an individual marking of this life passage with family and friends. A Leader and the child meet with parents, a mentor and other family members to fashion a ceremony unique to the individual.

Memorial Services

At the time of death, the primary concern is to help the bereaved reach beyond the loss to an affirmation of life. The memorial service is planned by family and friends with an Ethical Culture Leader or officiant. It is designed to commemorate and celebrate the life of the deceased, to help the bereaved accept the pain and loss, and to offer support and comfort. This service often becomes a celebration of an individual’s life - a time to share memories, a time to focus on the impact they made on others, and a time to acknowledge finality without despair.