Humanist Funerals

Humanist organizations exist to serve the needs of the non-spiritual, continuously evolving as those needs change. The British Humanist Association (BHA) was developed in 1967 from the Ethical Union. Humanists are non-religious people who live by moral principles based on reason and respect for others, not by compliance to dogmatic rules. Humanist encourage fulfillment and well-being in this life because they consider it is the only one we will have.

Humanist non-religious funeral ceremonies commemorate a life without using religious rituals and recognize the loss. Humanists offer a dignified option to the conventional funeral service and are made memorable by being tailored to each individual scenario, with the family’s wishes taken into account.

An average service will generally contain:
— proper or favorite music (of any type)
— A welcome and a short explanation of the service
— Poetry or prose readings
— A ‘homage’ to the dead person. The homage is mostly biographical, generally with brief contributions from friends, family and co-workers
— A time of reflection for private prayer or quiet meditation
— The Committal or words of farewell
— A short close, which can contain statements and thanks
— Prior to the funeral, a Humanist officiate will usually meet with the family to form an image of the person and the service. At this point it might also be significant for families to discuss various alternatives regarding the process and progression of the service.
— Thorough preparation prevents reliance on format or a regular text, and, in the days leading to the ceremony and service, attention and time is given to compiling and writing a homage both factually precise and with the proper tone. This procedure can allow each service to be developed with families, who welcome the chance for private input of choice and alternative solutions. A printed copy of the service is consistently supplied for the family to send to friends or absent relatives, and to be kept as a memento.
— Humanist funeral ceremonies may be conducted at crematoria, graveyards, woodland burial grounds, and other type of burial grounds (subject to limitation by authorities).
— Memorial ceremonies are generally conducted elsewhere after some time has elapsed following the funeral service. Yet in some conditions, where there’s no body or a body was taken for medical research, a memorial ceremony may take the position of a funeral.
— All Humanist officiates are non-judgmental, empathic and have broad life-expertise; many have professional qualifications.

The officiates are accredited by the
British Humanist Association,
1 Gower Street , London WC1E 6HD

Tel: 0207 079 3580 Fax: 020 7079 3588



Civil Funerals have been accessible in most of the UK for a long time now, given by a professional Civil Funeral Celebrant, who’ll be an associate of the Institute of Civil Funerals.  A complete list of members is accessible at

A Civil Funeral is defined as: ‘a funeral that is driven by the dead person and their family’s wishes, beliefs and principles, not by the beliefs or political orientations of the individual running the funeral.’

What this means is that the professional Celebrant is happy to contain content that is spiritual, in addition to carrying out non-religious ceremonies. In this manner Civil Funerals are distinct to humanist services, where faith is not going to be contained. The Celebrant will spend time speaking with friends and relatives, and he or she will subsequently write and present a complete service which will represent the wishes of the family and those of the dead person. The Celebrant organizes and discusses possible involvement in the service to family or friends, music and readings.

What makes a Civil Funeral distinct?

The quality processes set up to quantify training of Celebrants and client satisfaction are second to none. Follow-up customer surveys are requested and every service script is checked to preserve the greatest possible quality. The Celebrant will request a relative to assess the text before the day, to guarantee that no minor details can be incorrect, and, afterwards, a complete service text is supplied to the family.

Who are Civil Funeral Celebrants?

The individual running the Service will be a trained professional Celebrant. Frequently semi-retired professional individuals, Celebrants have a genuine interest in enhancing funerals in the United Kingdom, a great delivery of speeches and writing abilities, as well as excelling in empathy and gentleness. Funeral Celebrants will be an associate of the Institute of Civil Funerals, who supply them with a name badge they will wear whenever they visit houses or run a service, and the celebrant will have passed an externally accredited training class.

It’s very important to be sure any Funeral Celebrant IS an associate of the Institute of Civil Funerals; this is a guarantee of professionalism and quality.

What do members cost?

The fixed fee for a Civil Funeral Ceremony changes from approximately £150 to £200.

Additional advice

If you want additional information on training or Civil Funerals, please contact The Institute of Civil Funerals on 0845 0048608

Or write to PO Box 160, St Neots, Cambs PE19 5WL
Additional advice on Civil Funerals is accessible on