Planning a funeral is one of the last memorable things we can do for a loved one and it’s natural to feel that it’s very important to achieve the right tone that reflects that person’s personality and wishes . Some people prefer a more light hearted, uplifting approach and want the ceremony to be a real celebration of that person’s life, whilst others opt for a more sombre occasion . The words of each Humanist funeral are written for each individual – no funeral is the same – and it is this unique aspect of Humanist funerals which many people particularly like and feel their loved one would have wanted .
Here are a few frequently asked questions which may help :
Why choose a Humanist funeral ?
A Humanist funeral places the tribute to the deceased at the centre of the funeral ceremony. It’s an opportunity to remember that person with affection, sincerity and respect, capturing their life and personality in a way that is unique and appropriate. You don’t have to be a Humanist to have a Humanist funeral. A Humanist funeral is appropriate when the person who has died had no particular religious belief, even though he or she might not necessarily have called themselves a Humanist.
Where can a Humanist funeral ceremony take place ?
• Crematoria for cremations
• Burials – local cemeteries, church graveyards and woodland burial grounds
Local authority websites and funeral directors are good sources of information to help you choose the most suitable place.
What do I need to do now ?
You can either contact me directly or via your chosen funeral director . We will then arrange a time when it would be convenient for me to visit you to discuss the style of ceremony you would like, plus details for the tribute to your loved one (the main part of the ceremony) . We will also talk about ideas for readings and music and the general outline of the order of the ceremony in time for you to arrange for this to be printed for the ceremony, if you so wish . Throughout this process, I will offer you gentle support, advice and guidance – you won’t have to face the prospect of arranging the funeral ceremony alone .
What are the fees ?
My fee will be included in the funeral director’s fees, so you don’t have to worry about paying me separately . It will be the standard British Humanist Association fee.
How do I choose suitable readings and music ?
Often people have a very clear idea of some readings and music that they know the deceased particularly liked or even requested, but if you are finding these choices difficult then I can gladly offer some helpful advice and suggestions .
What happens on the day ?
I will meet you when you arrive at the crematorium or chapel with the funeral director and then lead the funeral for you . A typical Order of Ceremony includes:
• Entry music
• Words of welcome
• Thoughts of life and death
• Tribute (a celebration of the life of the deceased which may include other speakers if you wish)
• Music for a short period of reflection (or silent reflection)
• Committal (closing of curtains or lowering of coffin or the coffin may remain if you wish)
• Closing words of comfort
• Exit music
After the funeral, I will give you (or send, if you prefer) a presentation copy of the ceremony for you to keep as a record of the day .
I hope this has been useful . If you would like to contact me for a chat direct then please do so (my numbers are on the right hand side of this page) or ask your chosen funeral director to get in touch to arrange a suitable time to visit .