A Humanist, non-religious
funeral ceremony acknowledges loss and celebrates a life without
employing religious rituals. It offers a dignified alternative to the
traditional, faith-based funeral service and is made memorable by being personally
tailored to each individual situation, with the wishes of the family
taken fully into account. It is an inclusive ceremony, which is certainly not anti-religious, welcoming those of all faiths and those of none.
Each ceremony is unique and flexible, however a typical ceremony will often include:
- A welcome and a brief explanation of the ceremony
- Favourite or appropriate music (which can be live or pre-recorded i.e. in CD format)
- Poetry or prose readings
- A 'tribute' to the deceased, mainly biographical, often with short contributions from family, friends and colleagues
- A time for silent reflection (which those attending with religious beliefs may choose to use for private prayer)
- The Committal or words of farewell
- A brief close, which can include specific thanks and announcements
Humanist memorial ceremonies are more usually conducted elsewhere and after some time has elapsed following the funeral. In some circumstances, however, a memorial ceremony may take the place of a funeral or may take place shortly or immediately after the funeral.