Life Ceremonies

Life ceremonies, such as weddings, memorials, funerals, and child dedications, give us the opportunity to publicly honour an important event in the company of those who are dear to us. The Unitarian Church is a liberal religious faith that is able to bring personal meaning to a rite of passage, while respecting a wide range of spiritual perspectives.

About Lay Chaplains

In Canada, it became apparent as early as 1970 that the desire for Unitarian life ceremonies and rites of passage far surpassed the availability of Unitarian Ministers. The Lay Chaplaincy program was developed to meet this need for the general public.

Lay Chaplains are chosen by their congregations and officially licensed by the government to perform legally binding marriages. Today, Unitarian Lay Chaplains across Canada conduct some 1,000 rites of passage each year for members of the community at large. Lay Chaplains are appointed by the congregation for two-year terms, renewable to a total of six years.

Our Lay Chaplains provide:

  • weddings (officially licensed by the Government of Alberta)
  • funerals and memorial services
  • child dedications
  • other ceremonies
  • guidance to couples or families to help them develop a customized service that meets their needs an opportunity for couples or families, including those who do not subscribe to any particular religion, to mark a life passage flexibility as to the location of service, be it in the Unitarian Church, a chapel, or in a more informal venue.

Rites of passage services for members of the Unitarian Church of Calgary are conducted at no charge by our minister.

Our Lay Chaplains

Carl Svodboda.234x301jpgCarl Svoboda

Carl is a retired petroleum engineer and a long-time Calgary resident. In addition to his engineering training, Carl has a degree in archaeology from the University of Calgary. Carl has been interested in spiritual development for most of his adult life. He has been an active member of Calgary Unitarian Church since 2002 and was the winner of the Panabaker Award for extraordinary service to the church in February 2015. He was elected Lay Chaplain by the congregation and has served in that capacity since January 2011. His motivation for seeking the position was to be of service by facilitating rites of passage in a way that is positive and life-enhancing for those involved. Carl and his wife Christine have two married daughters and three grandchildren.


Bev Webber.234x301Beverley Webber

Beverley (Bev) Webber is a retired nursing attendant. She has been an active member of the Church since 2001 and won the Panabaker Award for extraordinary services in 2014. She was appointed by the congregation in December 2015 to be Lay Chaplain. Bev looks forward to working with you to design a wedding, memorial or child dedication service that reflects your unique spiritual expression, by incorporating elements that speak to you deeply and reflect the feelings you most wish to convey to your loved ones and guests in a rite of passage that is your own. She is also available for many other services which could include renewal of vows, end of friendship, new home blessing, divorce ceremonies, and coming of age. Bev is married with two children and two grandchildren.


  • Weddings: $315
  • Funerals/memorial services: $315
  • Child dedications: $165

Lay Chaplains may negotiate fees with those who can’t afford the suggested fees or those who would like to offer more.


  • Email the Lay Chaplains or call the church office at 403-276-2436.
  • For prices and information about facility rentals, please see the Facility Rentals page.
  • To view availability for booking rooms in the church, please see our Church Calendar.