A Humanist Funeral
What is a Humanist Funeral ?
Simply, it is a celebration of someoneís life. We focus on the person (the human), and what they meant to people present.
Humanists believe there is no supernatural, and we accept that our problems can only be solved by humans working with other humans. We live our lives without religion, but we accept that many people do have faith.
Because our ceremonies donít include religious rituals (talking about the afterlife, prayers and hymns) , there is more time for
- an account of the personís life, and thoughts about the kind of person they were
- listening to music of the kind they liked, or that seems to you appropriate to them
- some poetry, read by the Celebrant or by you or a friend
If you like, a relative or friend can get up and talk about the person who has died.
The ceremony starts with some general thoughts about loss and grief, and about coming together to share memories. It also reminds us that people live on in our memories, and in any influences they had on other people.
The ceremony ends with a formal Committal, or farewell.
Music: this is your choice. There needs to be a piece to play while we walk in, and another one as people leave at the end. In addition, there is often a piece for everyone to sit and listen to about three-quarters the way through. That is an opportunity for people to think silently about the person who has died. Those who believe in God may use that time to say a private prayer. (Humanists are respectful of the fact that there may well be people present who have very different beliefs from ours.)
If you contact me, I can advise on a good local Funeral Director, who can help you with all the arrangements. Then I will arrange to visit you in your home at your convenience. At that meeting, we discuss what you want, and very importantly, I learn from you as much as I can about the person whose life we are going to celebrate.
I then draft the funeral, and give you a copy so that you can check that the account of their life is accurate, honest and fair. That way, there will be no surprises for you on the day of the funeral; you will know what is going to happen, and you will have had the major part in choosing how it will feel to those present.
After the ceremony, you receive a full presentation copy of the ceremony to keep and to share with others if you wish.
If you want an Order of Ceremony, to give to everyone coming to the ceremony, I can create that for you, including a photograph.
I am also happy to advise on music, poems, etc, and I can offer help and advice to anyone you want to involve in the ceremony, to make sure it all runs smoothly and leaves you and everybody else feeling they have been to a really significant, lovely and emotionally helpful occasion. As of July 2017 I had conducted more than 180 funerals, each on different and personal
Note to Funeral Directors: if you contact me and I am unable to help at the specific time, I will do my best on your behalf to find a colleague who can be available and who will then contact you. There are several other Humanist UK Accredited celebrants in the area with whom I work closely. My fee (in 2017) is £170
Dover Road, Sheffield S11 8RH