Humanist Funerals advice can be obtained from The British Humanist Association (BHA) offers a personal and dignified funeral ceremony for those who have chosen to live without religion.
Humanist Funerals and The Death Of Someone Close To You
The death of a close relative or friend may be a bitter experience for many of us. Although we may sense that time will eventually soothe our grief, the feeling of shock and loss is very real.
A funeral should help family and friends express and share their sadness. It may be the last opportunity to be together to focus their thoughts on the person who has died. The ceremony deserves to be remembered as an occasion that uniquely and affectionately honoured that person's life. It should capture the essence of his or her personality.
The funeral director will deal with all practical arrangements, but it is up to you to say that you want humanist funerals.
Why Choose A Humanist or Non-Religious Funeral
While churchgoers and others committed to a religious faith usually want a minister to officiate, there is a growing number of people for whom religion is unimportant, or who have made a clear decision to live their lives without it.
For those seeking humanist funerals, a religious funeral service may seem insincere and bring little comfort. It may not feel the right way to say farewell to someone who did not accept the religious view of life and death. A humanist ceremony has more warmth and meaning for these people.
Humanist Funuerals BHA Funeral Officiants
Humanist officiants are men and women familiar with the procedures of cremation and burial who can empathise with the experience of bereavement. They are sensitive to the family's wishes yet ready to give clear guidance when needed. They are able to prepare and take charge of solemn occasions such as humanist funerals.
Whatever the circumstances of life and death, officiants 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.
The Humanist Funerals Ceremony
When planning a funeral the officiant will speak to the family and ideally, meet them and others affected by the death. It is helpful for the officiant to learn as much as possible about the person who has died, so that the funeral tribute really captures their life and personality.
Music can speak directly to the emotions and is often a poignant way of reflecting the personality of the one who has died. Usually an organist is available and most crematoria have facilities for playing cassettes or CDs.
The BHA publishes a useful booklet called Funerals Without God, with further information about arranging funerals and suggested readings and music.
Concern For Others
The kind of funeral ceremony chosen must be right and appropriate for the person who has died and their close family. Nothing in a humanist funerals ceremony would offend people who may be uneasy about a non-religious funeral. The idea is not to be hostile to religious beliefs, but to focus in a sincere way on the reality of the life that has ended.
People often tell us how moving, sincere and fitting they found a humanist funerals ceremony. For the immediate family and close friends it is a comfort to have provided a ceremony that their loved one would have wanted.
Humanist Funerals Practical Points
If possible, to ensure availability, humanist funerals officiants should be contacted before the date and time of the funeral are arranged.
Non-religious funerals have the same status in law as religious ones.
Officiants’ fees vary depending on which part of the country they work in but fall within a nationally agreed scale. Funeral Directors handle payment, which appears on the bill as a 'disbursement'.
BHA Officiants are subject to a code of conduct covering family visits, appropriate dress, and free provision of scripts on request.
It is important to make your wishes about your own funeral known to those who are likely to arrange it, as wills are not always read in time to take account of funeral arrangements.
Further info from: British Humanist Association, 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD
Tel: (+44) 020 7079 3580
Fax: (+44) 020 7079 3588