Traditionally funerals have been religious services. The Church of England has worked to improve the funerals offered to make them more personal however there are a number of increasingly popular alternatives:
Funeral celebrants will facilitate the funeral that you’d like to have based on your beliefs, not theirs. The funerals they put together are usually life-centered and can include elements of religion such as prayers. A good celebrant will visit you at home and spend time talking about the life of the person who has died before putting together the funeral.
There’s a whole spectrum of celebrants with different styles and offerings. Some celebrants are brilliant, others aren’t so good. A quick Google search will reveal the names of celebrants in your area. Call them and have a chat. Your funeral director may recommend a celebrant. You don’t need to go with the recommendation and can book someone independently. It’s your choice.
If you’d like a funeral that’s entirely free of religion, spirituality and any mention of God, a celebrant from the British Humanist Association will be able to take the service. Most Humanist Celebrants won’t allow any spiritual content so if you’re looking for something more flexible, you’ re probably best choosing a celebrant (as above).
If you’re looking for a funeral from an entirely non-religious and non-spiritual perspective, contact a Humanist Celebrant from the British Humanist Associatio.
We live in a society of multiple faiths. Belief systems in families can be complicated. Mourners may have differing needs, but they don’t need to be contradictory.
For example, an Imam worked with a celebrant to put together a funeral ceremony for a young woman who had died. Her family were religious, her friends weren’t. The resulting funeral met everyone’s needs.
If you or someone you know feels capable of leading the funeral service, you can do that. You can put together the funeral yourself or appoint an open-minded celebrant to assist you with certain elements such as how to structure it.
Funerals don’t have to stick to any structure or format. You can just play a favourite song on repeat or sit in silence if that resonates with you.