The death of a close relative or friend is often a bitter experience and the feelings of shock and loss can be very deep. A funeral should be an occasion for family and friends to focus their thoughts on the person who has died, and help them express and share their sadness. But it is also an opportunity for them to celebrate the life of the person they have lost, to express their gratitude and appreciation, and to say farewell with care and respect.
A humanist funeral acknowledges loss and celebrates a life without employing religious rituals. It aims above all to reflect the family’s feelings for the person who has died. Humanist Celebrants Northeast know how to empathise with the bereaved, interview with sensitivity, and prepare a ceremony according to a family’s wishes.
When planning a funeral the celebrant will normally visit the family in order to learn as much as possible about the person who has died and to discuss the family’s wishes for the funeral. The celebrant will then devise a ceremony and write a tribute that fully reflects the life and personality of the deceased. The family can choose appropriate music and readings of poetry or prose for inclusion in the service, and if family members or friends wish to read any of these, or indeed to give a tribute to the deceased, they are welcome to do so.
Whatever the circumstances of life and death, celebrants are not there to moralise or judge, but to understand. They will help to plan a personal and dignified funeral ceremony, and conduct it on the day. They also have an important role of liaison with funeral directors and crematorium and cemetery staff.
A printed copy of the ceremony is offered to the family afterwards, for them to send to absent relatives or friends, or to keep as a memento.
If a non-religious funeral is required it is important to let your funeral director know when making the arrangements.
View a typical funeral ceremony
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