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Went to a humanist funeral yesterday and I was blown away. The departed was a saintly woman who helped numerous cancer patients voluntarily;everyone was there... Even the local priest allowed the humanist ceremony to take place in his church because he believed that she was amazing...

It has been the only funeral that I felt it was only about the person and its life. A real celebration without any incarnations of otherworldly fantasies...

tsallinia 6 Nov 12

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The reason I got into secular funeral celebrancy and performing humanistic weddings is because of a "celebration of life" for someone I didn't even know, but was held in the gym of the high school where her husband worked.

I was only there supporting someone who did know her, but I was blown away by the emotion evoked by the MC of the event.

It was totally non-religious and after attending 18 funerals in the preceding 11 months that were soooo Christian, honoring humans who personally didn't identify with that religion, that particular funeral/celebration of life got me started in my current way of making a living, providing non-religious weddings and funerals for folks who just want to go through the milestones of their life without including religious view into it.

Just human emotions and a description of a legacy the loved one wished to leave behind. I love it. And that's what keeps me going to work every day. πŸ™‚

Thank you for that!


We had a party celebrating my husband's life without personal comments except for the video,photo album and music the kids prepared.Neighbors and friends brought all the food and did all the cooking. We had 230 people sign the last minute non book sign in sheets. People were parked a mile away and some of the older folks had to miss it because they could not walk that far. I thought about 60 would show up. I was super proud of all the folks that described him as the kindest man they had ever known.


Everyone, remember to put in your Will or give clear instructions to your family that you want a secular funeral. Otherwise, you know some well intentioned family member will try to save your imaginary soul with a religious funeral for you.


My dad had a humanist funeral shocked me as I thought he was a god botherer . Turns out he wasn't and the funeral wasn't a nightmare

So sorry you did not get to talk with him about this in life.....


Well, my respect to the departed and to the priest. He's an example of a religious person who has no problem to give the deserved credit to someone with a completely different belief than his own.


Even my very Mormon mother used to say 'Funerals are for the living'.

I'm very pleased that they honored her living friends apparently according to her desires.
And let them honor her.


That's beautiful.


I had a Humanist celebrant conduct my son’s funeral last January. It was I believe a true memorial to him, with friends and family and favourite music and poetry. The lady celebrant was lovely, we met her and discussed exactly what we wanted and what she would say. It was a cremation and was held at the crematorium itself with refreshments afterwards for anyone who attended at a nearby golf club, so that we could all mingle and remember Graeme fondly. It was sad and yet not mournful, it was a very fitting send off and I would recommend such a funeral to anyone.


My kind of farewell...for me and others!


It's refreshing to hear of a funeral that is about the dearly departed and no priest or pastor takes over to make the event all about Jesus or god.

The American Humanist Association might have a local chapter in your area. They have Humanist Chaplains who can officiate a secular celebration of life or funeral.


So heart-warming to hear of this, and a timely reminder to be clear with my children on my wishes.


Both my parents were that way. For my father's funeral in Quantico National Cemetery I wore white pants and a purple shirt. No black anywhere in sight. It was extended family only. All were given a chance to get up and speak... And everyone put something into a box that was buried with him. Computer programs, RC airplane parts as he was a flyer. His brother put his wings in as he flew in the Navy, etc. I wrote a poem and put it in also. We did similar things for my mom when she passed a little under two years ago.

The state of Virginia statehouse adjourned their day in my mom's honor the day after her passing. I had the video of it... It was very touching.


My first wife was Chinese, and her grandmother's funeral was the same way.

The focus was on her grandmother, not a magic Jew in the sky.

BD66 Level 8 Nov 13, 2019

This is a very valuable service for Families of Humanists and sadly it gets most of its publicity at the funeral itself. I would warn members of this forum to take great care in choosing that the celebrant ( in place of vicar or priest in the past) is registered and regulated by a Bone Fide organization such as Humanist(UK) in the UK. I have sat in on a panel dealing with disputes over funerals and some mistakes by celebrants CAN cause the families great upset. It is such a growing market that some vicars and priests fear losing income and think that all they have to do is take off their 'dog collar' and find a song. It takes much more than that to celebrate a life


I recently attended a Memorial Service at a Unitarian-Universalist church. Celebrating memories of the departed without any reference to deities, the "afterlife", or any claptrap like that. Refreshing & enjoyable! Plus everybody so friendly!

Reminds me of one of the last Memorials that i attended at the UUC, back in Ga. As each person said something about the our friend...a young great-nephew got up and only said that he β€˜hoped everyone here finds Jesus and is saved!’ Sad! I guess he didn’t really know his great aunt, who was a lesbian and college professor and a wonderful human being!

@Freedompath wow, can you say "gauche to the max"? He had no idea where he was, did he........or was he being a total jerk? Oh, wait.........

@AnneWimsey nobody knew him, so it is fare to say, that he knew nothing about what UU stood for...but he thought we needed to be saved! It was a little sad really!


I gave my son and his wife a secular wedding. It was all about them and was a rewarding experience. I will soon participate in a fellow Free Thinker's funeral. I'm sure it will mean more to all of us and his remembrance in our group.


As it should be


Very cool

bobwjr Level 10 Nov 12, 2019

I had a close friend and co-worker of 25+ years died on 2/25/19 at the age of 49. His parents honored his agnostic form of spirituality and we held a celebration of life ceremony at work (Bowling center) for him & his family. I recruited a friend and fellow bowler who is a grief councilor who also honored Johns agnostic belief's and did not turn his memorial into a church service add. All in all...those who attended including his family expressed a great sense of gratitude and all enjoyed the focus on the person for which we all will miss. I will be certain my intentions will be well known in my will that I do NOT want a church service ceremony...I want a similar celebration at a bowling center for me as well πŸ™‚


That had to have been a beautiful experience. I'm happy for you.


Been to a few Christian funerals lately. It’s almost unbearable for the preacher to talk about the person for a few seconds and then ramble on and preach for the next hour. By the time he’s thru I almost want to change places with person in casket so I don’t have to listen anymore


What is a humanist ceremony?

I think that's a fancy term for a Celebration of Life.

@SeaGreenEyez ah, got it, prefer your definition.

A humanist ceremony, be it a funeral, memorial service, wedding or other event is one that is based on human values, rather than supernatural influences and religious references. So, based on the natural world and the human emotions that make life enjoyable for us all. They are usually more personal than a worship service with an "insert name here" type script.

@Julie808 just as I thought, a celebration of life.

@Mofo1953 Except that it's non-religious. There can be celebrations of life that include religious references, but humanistic services do not.

@Julie808 weren't we talking about the post which made that celebration of life stated and explicitly non religious?


Humanist funeral is the 'best and most 'honest ' funeral I've ever been to.

Bump Level 4 Nov 26, 2019

This made me smile. I am going to research more about this sort of funeral and hospice arrangements.


A few years ago an uncle of mine died. He lived on the Isle of Wight, and wanted a humanist service. This was carried out by a Church of Scotland Minister who was the Chaplain to the Royal Navy Portsmouth at the natural burial ground on the Isle of Wight - just uphill from the Garlic Farm... Great service.
My wife had a humanist service and is buried in a beautiful natural burial ground a short distance from one of her favourite Scottish battlefields (Fyvie Castle). Lowered her down to Bohemian Rhapsody... A sad day and a great day. Cards Against Humanity at the wake.

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