As you face the challenge of this difficult time, I am here to help you create a funeral that is a reflection of both the person you have lost, and those who are left behind.
What is a Humanist Funeral?
Humanist funerals are becoming much more common. Many people today have no religious faith, and no particular religious beliefs. For them, a Humanist Funeral or memorial ceremony can be much more fitting. Instead of focusing on some godly power, or an ‘after-life’, it instead uniquely and affectionately celebrates the life of the person who has died. Proper tribute is paid to them, to the life they lived, the connections they made and have left behind. However, I am always careful that there is nothing in the ceremony to cause offence to those who are religious, and I will include a period of quiet reflection for those who may wish to offer a silent prayer.
The main idea is that the ceremony simply, sincerely, and affectionately celebrates the life of the person who has died, and allows friends, relatives and acquaintances to express their feelings of loss and to share their memories. Many bereaved people find this tremendously helpful, and are pleased to have provided a ceremony their loved ones would have wanted.
How long will the ceremony last?
Most crematorium chapels operate in half-hour blocks. This means that most cremation ceremonies run to 20-25 minutes, which allows an extra few minutes to get in and out. Although it might seem quite short, it is usually enough time to play several pieces of music, hear a few readings, and for a tribute describing the deceased person’s life. However, if you feel this really isn’t enough time, you can usually arrange for with the chapel to book a double slot, meaning there will be an hour available for the ceremony.
If there is to be a burial, then there are often two parts to the ceremony – an indoor service, followed by a graveside committal. Or sometimes there is a need for a Memorial Ceremony with no burial or cremation. In these cases, the ceremonies are often held in private function rooms, which means they can be any appropriate length, offering even greater flexibility and possibilities.
I am happy to discuss all these options with you, and advise you accordingly.
How is the ceremony created?
I will come and visit family members and friends at home or in a suitable location. I will spend 1 or 2 hours discussing the kind of ceremony you would like, and what it should contain. I will try and get a full life-story of the deceased. If family members or friends wish to make contributions, either spoken or written, I will work with them to ensure these fit in and flow. I will then write a service based on all this. I will email you a full script in advance, so you can correct and approve of it. On the day I will conduct the ceremony, and will liaise with your Funeral Director (if you have one) to make sure everything runs smoothly. Afterwards, I will present you with a copy of the script, in a presentation folder, as a keepsake.
Can I choose whatever music, poetry or readings I want?
Yes! There is no prescribed format for a Humanist funeral ceremony. I have had all sorts of requests, from the sublime to the silly to the downright rude! I am happy to consider whatever you feel is appropriate for the deceased person and the mourners.
What about hymns and prayers?
As described above, a humanist funeral is one that is without religion, and recognises no gods or afterlife, but rather reflects human life and values. So hymns and prayers do not really have a place. However, some pieces of religious music have particular significance to the deceased or their family – a classic example being Rugby players or fans, and “Abide With Me”. I am always happy to discuss using particular pieces, and why they might be relevant or appropriate.
What training do you have?
I have been trained and accredited by the Humanists UK to conduct funerals. I am covered by their Committent to Quality and Code of Conduct. I am fully covered by Humanists UK for public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
How Do We Get In Touch With You?
Landline Phone: 0121 684 1053
Mobile Phone: 07977 216824