When a loved one dies, the family member may like to honour them in a service that reflects their values and beliefs – especially if they are not religious they may not like to hold the funeral in a church. There are other options such as a civil or humanist ceremony which allows the family and friends that best celebrates the life of the deceased in the most suitable way.
What is a humanist funeral service?
A humanist funeral service is based on the humanist philosophy that each life is individual and valuable. These services are not religious or spiritual and instead focus on celebrating the life of the person who has passed. Due to the non-religious aspect of the ceremony, there would not be any bible verses or hymns sang.
The humanist celebrant will instead learn all about the person who has passed, and use this to create a bespoke, personal service based around their life, relationships, and personality. This way the family and friends can have complete control over how the person is portrayed, with songs and readings of your choice intertwined within the service. This type of funeral can be held in a location of your choice, but are typically held in cemeteries, crematoriums, or natural woodland burial grounds.
What is a civil funeral service?
A civil funeral service is a funeral service that doesn’t attribute itself to any religious or spiritual beliefs, and can instead be tailored to the individual being celebrated. This gives you more control than religious services, which tend to have a set order of service. These can be held outside of a place of worship, usually at a crematorium or cemetery, however, they may have a certain level of religious values within the ceremony (such as a hymn or prayer), but this is down to the organiser to arrange in line with the wishes of the deceased.
How does this differ from religious services?
A Religious Funeral Service is a traditional funeral service that usually takes place in a place of worship. As well as excerpts about the person, a religious ceremony will be interspersed with bible verses, prayers and hymns sang by the congregation or practices unique to a specific religion or denomination that the deceased ascribed to.
Can you have a humanist funeral in a church?
Due to the non-religious foundations of a humanist memorial service, a church may not be the most suitable venue. You don’t have to consider yourself religious to be able to have a funeral in a church, however if someone has led their life by humanist or non-religious principles, a more well-suited celebration of life may be more fitting as a church funeral would never be completely free of religious elements.
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