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by Abigail Van Buren

Winner's Share of Limelight Is Stolen by Long Winded Partner

DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Frustrated," who was looking for an alternative to a religious wedding ceremony, may I suggest secular Humanist clergy?

I am a Humanist minister from the Humanist Society of Friends whose celebrants, ministers, chaplains, counselors and pastors are all secular Humanists. You can find us throughout the United States and Canada. For details, your readers can call the American Humanist Association toll-free number: (800) 743-6646, or e-mail them at humanism@juno.com.

I have performed nonreligious weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies since 1963, when I first obtained my license from the state of Ohio to solemnize marriages. My state license is identical to that of any other clergy. -- DR. RICK RICKARDS, CLEVELAND

DEAR DR. RICKARDS: Thank you for pointing this out. After I printed that letter, I was flooded with letters from readers telling me that Humanist celebrants function the same way members of traditional clergy do -- with one exception: They are nontheists.

Many people also wrote to remind me that Unitarian Universalist ministers are also willing to perform ceremonies without reference to God. The telephone number of the Unitarian Universalist Association is (617) 742-2100. Their Web address is: www.uua.org/main.html.

To all of you who took the time to write, thank you for the input.