Are all Celebrants Humanist? Are Independent Celebrants also Humanist?
Do we have to employ a minister if we want some elements of religion or spirituality in the funeral ceremony?
In short - not all Celebrants are Humanist - a large proportion of us are Independent and we therefore have the flexibility to reflect your beliefs - whether religious, spiritual, agnostic or atheist. We do not need to be Humanist to officiate a non-religious ceremony and we can certainly include elements of religion or spirituality too!
If your loved one was not a church-goer or a practicing muslim or a lapsed visitor to the synagogue but they were brought up in religious family and had some beliefs - what are their options when it comes to their cremation or funeral?
How can we give them the send off they would want or deserve? We don’t want the vicar or rabbi to officiate at the funeral - it would be wrong as they were not actively religious - but we should have a nod to their religious upbringing! How can this be handled sensitively?
Well there are of course options!
When you are planning a loved one’s funeral, you have choices - so many choices! But in my view (and I may be biased!) - the most important choice will be who will say the final words and what is said - will the words be right, will it sum up that person we are saying goodbye to, will it be special, will it be appropriate, will it be memorable for all the right reasons?⠀
As your Celebrant, I will be in contact with you more than once before the funeral and wherever possible I will meet you. I will find out all about that special person and the life they have led. I will get to understand your family dynamics, your family humour, their history, the importance of religion in their life and what made them tick. Then I will script a very personal service which is all about them - we will tweak it - you get that input, until it truly reflects and celebrates their life.⠀
A Humanist Celebrant does not support religion or spirituality - it has to be a non-religious ceremony if they lead your funeral. If you employ a religious minister - they will have very fixed impersonal scripts - it will be heavy on the religion - for obvious reasons!
Don’t panic!! Independent Civil Celebrants will write a script that honours that person’s story and beliefs - they can write a service with no mention of religion, but if it is relevant - even if it is just a mention of their religious upbringing and the Lord’s prayer, a Civil Celebrant can do that.
A Civil Celebrant will also make sure that the music they loved in life is included in the ceremony - even if it is deemed spiritual by others - yes Angels by Robbie Williams will apparently not fit the criteria if you employ a Humanist for your ceremony (they don’t believe in afterlife therefore no angels!)
You can and should choose your own Celebrant - you need to decide if they are a good fit for your family - we are all different so it is not one size fits all. Some Celebrants are fun, some are serious, some are modern, others are traditional - we reflect all parts of the community and we all have different styles of communication.
Your Funeral Director will have some information about local Celebrants they have met or have experience of and can often match you with a suitable Celebrant. Or you can choose someone yourself - maybe you have seen a Celebrant take another funeral or had a recommendation from a friend. Or google us - the more modern Celebrants will have a website and social media accounts which will give you an idea of what we are like and who we are. ⠀
A professional Celebrant will be part of an Association, they will have had training and they will hold insurance.
We will meet you at your home, at the Funeral Director’s office or at a convenient location; the Celebrant will ask you questions and find out all about your loved one’s story. We can talk about music, give you some ideas on readings and eulogies and start forming a plan for the funeral.
The Celebrant will then write a really personal ceremony - hopefully one that will make you smile through the tears - (well that is how I work!)
The only rules I have as your Celebrant - make it special, make it personal, celebrate their achievements and give them the funeral service they deserve.
Get in contact for more information about funerals:
My name is Justine and I’m a Civil Celebrant in Kent. Contact me using the form below or use my contact page for more details about my services and celebrations of love, marriage and life in the South East and further afield.