Funeral Ceremonies


Simon Smith BHA Funeral Celebrant

Funeral ceremonies are not for the dead, but for the living. As with many ‘Rites of Passage’ they are moments in our lives when events force us to stop, think, remember and ‘take stock’ of our own lives. Funerals are a significant part of the process of coming to terms with loss and can be extremely therapeutic, allowing participants to collectively witness a farewell supported by friends and family.

Crematorium ceremonies are typically about 30 minutes long and a typical Order of Ceremony might include:

  • Entry music
  • Words of welcome
  • Thoughts on life and death. How the dead live on in the thoughts and actions of the living and how our physical bodies are returned to the universe to be absorbed into other living things.
  • The Tribute. This is a personal celebration of the life of the deceased. It can take many forms and include other speakers’ personal stories, readings and poems.
  • Music for reflection. A moment of thoughtfulness and quiet goodbyes. Often during this period mourners will light a candle, lay a flower or perform another symbolic gesture of farewell.
  • Committal or Final Farewell. This is the part of the ceremony where you will say your final farewells as the coffin is removed from sight by the closing of curtains.
  • Closing words of comfort. It’s my belief that the best response to Death is Life. We honour the dead we mourn by living better, fuller kinder lives that embrace the spirit of human kindness.
  • Exit music

Before the ceremony I will come to meet you and spend some time with you to find out what sort of ceremony is fitting for the person who has died and how you wish to say your farewells. At this meeting I learn as much as I can about the deceased, so anyone that you think should be there can be. We will discuss their childhood and family life, their work and their passions,  hobbies and of course the legacies they leave, I don’t mean financial legacies here, I mean the memories. With this information I will  write the tribute for the ceremony. Wherever possible a ceremony can also include readings, poems  or stories from friends or family. I always encourage people to take part in a ceremony and I can also offer suggestions for readings and music.

Fundamentally, with a Humanist ceremony you have much more freedom to choose how you want to to celebrate the life of the person who has died. You may wish for a simple and traditional ceremony or you can be as creative or imaginative as you wish. My job is to make it happen.

If you would like to talk about planning a funeral, my contact details are: