The funeral service is an important time when family and friends will be focussing their thoughts on the person who has died. It should help them to express and share their sadness but also to celebrate the life that was lived.
Religious / non-religious
People committed to a religious faith will normally want a religious minister or leader to conduct their funeral ceremony. But there are other options for those for whom religion is less important.
Here are just three of the main choices regarding funeral services.
The funeral service would be carried out by your local faith leader, whether in their Church, at the crematorium or at a cemetery. The service will follow a fixed format, which you will normally only be able to personalise to a certain extent. Your Funeral Director will arrange for the local leader of your faith to contact you. Where possible they will meet with family members to discuss the service in detail. Often the minister will know the deceased and will be able to reflect this in the service.
A typical order of ceremony for a Church of England Service will include Sentences from Scripture, Hymns, Bible Reading, Minister’s Address and a Tribute or Eulogy as well as Prayers including the Commendation and Committal. Family members are welcome to give tributes or readings.
Sometimes families prefer to have a private service at the crematorium followed by a Memorial Service, often at a later date. It is also possible for this service to include the interment of your loved one’s cremated remains.
A benefit of this type of service is that the religious leader will normally be able to offer continued pastoral care after the funeral has taken place.
A Celebrant Funeral Ceremony
A ceremony designed to celebrate a life – reflecting the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family. It is a personal tribute, created by a professional Civil Funeral Celebrant, working with you, your family and the Funeral Director.
A Civil Ceremony can be held anywhere that is not a religious building. This can be any crematorium, cemetery, green burial site, or you may like to have the service in a hotel or village hall before or after the burial or cremation.
Your Funeral Director will arrange for a Civil Funeral Celebrant to contact you, to arrange a convenient time to meet you (at a venue of your choice), to discuss your thoughts and feelings regarding your loved one and your wishes for the content of the ceremony. They will provide you with a selection of readings and offer suggestions regarding music, family participation and, if required, will include any aspect of any religion.
For many, this provides a comfortable middle ground that allows them to not only create a service that is a fitting tribute but also acknowledges that there may be mourners at the service, who do hold religious beliefs.
The Celebrant will help you to choose the order and content of the ceremony and, based on the information you provide, will write the service including the eulogy.
The service will be unique – a tribute to, and a celebration of, your loved one’s life conducted to reflect the wishes of you and your family.
Some of the Celebrants we have a close working partnership with.
The British Humanist Association
A funeral ceremony for those who have made a clear decision to live without religion, a Humanist ceremony, which uniquely and affectionately honours the life of the deceased.
Humanists care deeply about moral issues, but from a non-religious standpoint. The British Humanist Association has a national network of men and women who are trained and accredited to conduct Humanist funeral ceremonies. Their funeral officiants come from a wide variety of backgrounds – what they share is an ability to empathise with the experience of bereavement. They are good interviewers and attentive listeners; sensitive to the family’s wishes, yet ready to give guidance as needed and able to prepare and take charge of a solemn public occasion.
Whatever the circumstances of the life and death, officiants are not there to moralise or judge – but to understand. Together with you they can plan a personal and dignified funeral ceremony and conduct it for you on the day.
It is helpful for the officiant to get to know as much as possible about the person who has died; for each ceremony is different and highly individual, even if the form of it may seem quite simple. Members of the family or friends can, if they wish, participate with a reading or a poem, or with their own tribute. It all helps make the occasion more personal and special.
Your Funeral Director can arrange for a British Humanist Association officiant to contact you.
Length of service
The length of the service will depend on what is included in the ceremony, the type of funeral and where the ceremony is taking place. However, as a guide, crematorium service times last for around 30 minutes. This might be insufficient, please speak to your Funeral Director who will be able to arrange for an extended time in the chapel.
Music can speak direct to the emotions and can often be a poignant way of reflecting the personality of the one who has died. Most crematoria have internet based sound systems which allow us to provide any piece of commercially released music to be played. We are also able to upload MP3 files containing your own recorded music, that can then be played on the day of the service.
Poems and readings
Readings and poems can also be a great source of comfort. There is a vast array of sources, for both religious and non-religious funerals, available online. Family members may even wish to write something much more personal for themselves to read or for the officiant to read for them.
Order of Service sheets
Printed Order of Service sheets are often requested and we are happy to provide these and include a number of favourite photographs to reflect a life well lived. We can also include details of your chosen charity and invite those attending the service, for refreshments afterwards.