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 elected by their congregations to perform ceremonies and rites of passage and are officially licensed by the government to perform legally binding marriages. A Lay Chaplain receives training from the Canadian Unitarian Council and within their home congregation. Today, Unitarian Lay Chaplains across Canada conduct some 1,000 rites of passage each year for members of the community at large.

Unitarian Lay Chaplains have a history of serving, and continue to serve, LGBTQ2+ communities.

Our Lay Chaplains provide:

  • Weddings (officially licensed by the Government of Alberta)
  • Celebrations of Life (Funerals and Memorials)
  • Child naming and dedications
  • Other ceremonies to mark an occasion or life event. Examples include coming of age, reaffirming vows, retirement, moving, home blessing, loss of a pet, end of a relationship, healing rituals.
  • Ceremonies that reflect the beliefs and values of the participants. Our ceremonies can be humanist or spiritually oriented. We also offer interfaith and multi-faith ceremonies, incorporating elements from religious traditions according to what is meaningful for you.
  • An opportunity for individuals, couples or families, including those who do not subscribe to any particular religion, to mark a life passage.
  • Flexibility as to the location of the service, be it in the Unitarian Church, a chapel, or in a more informal venue.

Our mission is to take what is in your heart and find beautiful words to express it.

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

Our Lay Chaplains

Lynn Nugent and Mary-Anna Louise Kovar are active members of the Calgary Unitarians. Both have extensive experience with creating and leading services.  Lynn was appointed as a Lay Chaplain in December 2018; Mary-Anna Louise is serving her second term as Lay Chaplain. Lynn and Mary-Anna Louise will work with you to create a ceremony that reflects your beliefs and tells your story. We look forward to guiding you through the process of creating your perfect ceremony.

Lynn Nugent

Lynn was raised on a farm east of Carstairs, Alberta and has resided in Calgary for most of her adult life.  Lynn is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, trained by the Celebrant Foundation and Institute. She believes in honouring life’s special occasions and transitions through personalized ceremonies.

Lynn has trained as a healing touch practitioner and has a background in interfaith studies and world religions. She is married and has three adult children.

Mary-Anna Louise Kovar

Mary-Anna Louise grew up in rural New Brunswick close to the sea and nature. A Unitarian Universalist since 1979, she has served on a variety of committees and boards, locally and nationally. She finds joy and satisfaction in the creation of personalized services and ceremonies to mark life’s important events. Finding the words, readings, and symbols that are ‘just right’ is exciting and rewarding.

She is married with three adult children and is a retired Physical Therapist.


  • Weddings: $365
  • Funerals/memorial services: $365
  • Child dedications: $165
  • Other ceremonies: $165

Lay Chaplains may negotiate fees depending on circumstances.

  • Contact

    • 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.