The Times They Are A Changing
In our increasingly secular society, there has been a move away from what could be described as the traditional funeral of a church service led by a Minister, with a cremation or burial before or after.
Fewer families are choosing to have a minister of religion and services (often of thanksgiving) led by a family member, Civil Celebrant or Humanist have become very popular.
Your Funeral Director would usually arrange the person officiating at the service on your behalf and, with your permission, pass on your contact details. This enables the humanist or civil celebrant to get in touch and arrange a meeting to discuss the service.
What is the difference between a Civil Celebrant and a Humanist?
A civil funeral is:
“A funeral driven by the wishes beliefs and values of the deceased and their family not by the beliefs and ideology of the person conducting the funeral”.
Professor Tony Walter, Centre Director of the Centre for Death and Society at Bath University.
By choosing a civil funeral, families can ensure this final act of love focuses entirely on their loved one. It may be a celebration or reflection of their life. The
style and tone are appropriate to them whilst being sensitive to the circumstances of their death.
A civil funeral ceremony is appropriate for either a cremation or burial and, although it is often held in a crematorium or chapel, it can be held at a variety of locations to ensure the setting itself is as personal as the ceremony.
The ceremony itself may include music, readings, poetry and symbolic gestures such as candles and photographs. Religious or spiritual elements such as prayers and hymns can be included. Or the ceremony can be entirely non-religious.
Everything is put together with the support of the funeral celebrant to create a ceremony that is respectful, personal and memorable.
Broadly, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:
• Trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic).
• Makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals.
• Believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.
A humanist service is regarded as a non-religious ceremony; as such there is not usually any religious content in the service. While some humanists may permit the singing of a hymn, there would not normally be any prayers or reading of passages from the bible.
Humanists and Civil Celebrants will include family members who wish to participate in readings and tributes. Both charge a fee for providing the service they do. This fee is usually paid by the Funeral Director and included in the disbursements of the funeral invoice.
Ask your Funeral Director about the choices available to you.