The passing of a loved one is one of life’s inevitable events. For most, this is a time of great pain and sadness.
I firmly believe that everyone is deserving of a celebration of their life. A celebration to mark their passing. To recognise the importance of their time on Earth and to provide those left behind with not just the opportunity to say goodbye but also to assist in the natural grieving process that we must all go through. It is equally important that any such celebration is as personal to those left behind as it is to the one who has passed. That there has been some consideration regarding the content of the celebration and that it is in keeping with the wishes of those affected.
I will strive to meet with those charged with the responsibility of organising a Funeral to learn as much as I can about the person who has passed. It is only through talking to family and friends that memories and details of a persons life can be gathered and it is these intimate details that form the basis of a respectful yet personal celebration to mark their passing.
Humanist or Religious?
A common question people have is, what is the difference between a Celebrant led ceremony and a religious ceremony? The easy answer is that a Celebrant led ceremony will be based on the person who has passed away and their relationships with those who love and care for them, not on their relationship with a ‘higher power’. The best definition I have found is provided by the Institute of Civil Funerals:
A funeral driven by the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family, not by the beliefs or ideology of the person conducting the funeral.
A funeral ceremony can be held just about anywhere, providing you have the consent of the right parties. For most people however, the choice will either be a crematorium, a cemetery, a natural burial site or in a consecrated building. I can help with all of these, with the exception of a consecrated building. If you are looking to plan a funeral service and would like the service or the committal to be in a consecrated site then you will need to contact your local clergy. I can however provide you with a ceremony that has some or no religious content.
A traditional ‘Religious’ funeral is by far the most common funeral held in the UK today. According to the latest available statistics 67% of us will have a traditional religious funeral, held with the rites of a particular religion. This number is decreasing as our country becomes more secular and more and more people are seeking a ‘person centered’ ceremony.
A Celebrant can offer a ceremony that contains religious content such as a hymn, prayer or Bible reading. If the ceremony you are looking for is a ‘fully’ religious one, then I would suggest that you contact the local leaders of your particular faith, as a ceremony conducted by a Celebrant is probably not what you are looking for. On the other hand, did the deceased, or do their immediate family, hold particularly strong religious beliefs? Are you are seeking a ceremony that is ‘light’ on religious content, and much more focused on celebrating the life that has been lived? If this is the case, then a Celebrant may be just what you need. I would be more than happy to talk with you about this to help you work out which option would be most appropriate.
It should be noted that, as a Celebrant, I do not seek to conduct ceremonies in consecrated buildings or on consecrated ground as a mark of respect to the particular religion.