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Your name, e.g. naming, wedding & funeral celebrant British Humanist Association Humanist Ceremonies.

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Presentation on theme: "Your name, e.g. naming, wedding & funeral celebrant British Humanist Association Humanist Ceremonies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Your name, e.g. naming, wedding & funeral celebrant British Humanist Association Humanist Ceremonies

2 The Humanist Ceremonies network “Humanist Ceremonies™ is the network of non-religious celebrants trained, accredited, insured, and quality- assured by the British Humanist Association. We are the UK’s longest standing provider of non- religious ceremonies and provide individually prepared ceremonies to mark important occasions in life such as the arrival of a child, weddings and funerals. 97% of feedback received awards us 5/5.”

3 A brief introduction to Humanism Builds on atheism(meaning no religious faith) A statement of what is important “For the one life we have” About using evidence, experience and reason to understand the world That we can have a good, meaningful life without belief in god(s) Promoting human rights and freedoms Living cooperatively with people of other beliefs

4 The importance of ceremony We all mark many milestones throughout our lives (e.g. birthdays) in a non-religious way Ceremony is: – natural – emotionally healthy – about community – Not necessarily connected to religion

5 Why humanist ceremonies? British Humanist Association’s (BHA) remit is to express and represent the needs of the non-religious Ceremony provision developed in response to a need Members have been conducting funerals for each other since 1890s Over time demand has increased dramatically and the training of celebrants has developed greatly BHA at the forefront of developing non-religious ceremony

6 The basics ‘Celebrants’ are trained and accredited by the British Humanist Association (BHA) Three main ceremony types for ‘hatches, matches and despatches’ – baby namings / welcomings – weddings – funerals – some others too (e.g. renewal of vows, coming of age) Most ceremonies are for those who are simply not religious rather than who describe themselves as humanists Ceremonies are held where and when people choose – no restrictions on time/place

7 What is a humanist ceremony? Our strap-line says it all: Meaningful: sincere and honest. Non-religious: no talk of God(s), scripture, afterlife etc. Just for you: bespoke, personal with no set script.

8 Facts & Figures Approx. 300 ‘celebrants’ Conduct around 9000 ceremonies each year Approximately 85% of these are funerals Around 750,000 people go to a humanist ceremony each year

9 Our three main ceremony types Pics of leaflets


11 Humanist Funerals About 7000 held each year (1.3% of all deaths) Most held at crematoria but some burials Families often find celebrant through Funeral Director To celebrate the life lived and express grief and sadness But without talk of an afterlife or heaven Perhaps the time when people are most sensitive to a religious service feeling ‘wrong’ if inappropriate Entirely focused on the person, their life and their relationships

12 Format of a humanist funeral Introductory music Words of welcome Thoughts on life and death from a non-religious perspective The tribute – an outline of the life and personality of the person who has died Readings of poetry and prose Reflection – a few moments for private thoughts about the person who has died, either in silence or accompanied by music The committal – when the curtains are closed or coffin lowered Closing words – including thanks on your behalf Final music

13 X’s humanist funeral

14 What people say about humanist funerals “We were very nervous of deviating from 'the norm' for my husband's funeral, but many people commented that the funeral was brilliant and the best they'd ever been to.” “Everyone attending was very impressed and captivated. All our family and friends were moved to express how much they enjoyed the sympathetic and engaging delivery in the celebration of his life. I found the service very moving but also comforting.” “The family wanted a dignified respectful ceremony and this is what we got. It was moving and loving.” “Above all expectations. Very many who attended said what an uplifting experience it had been.”

15 Writing a humanist ceremony Whatever type of ceremony it is, we take the same general approach: 1.Celebrant meets the family 2.Talks about what is wanted from the occasion 3.Make suggestions about content, format, contributions (e.g. songs, readings) 4.Writes a bespoke ceremony 5.Edits in light of feedback 6.Delivers it with aplomb

16 The family visit

17 Training to become a celebrant Separate training for each of the three ceremony types (namings, weddings & funerals) Training takes place over three separate days / weekends Involves writing sample scripts and submission of coursework Then provisionally accredited Have to then be observed within a year of provisional accreditation

18 My role as a celebrant How people find me: website and FDs Meeting a diverse array of people The writing process Juggling practical arrangements The ceremony itself What happens next…

19 Possible discussion points Increasingly complex ‘market’ of funeral celebrants: no need to be licensed, word ‘humanist’ isn’t solely used by BHA celebrants Memorial ceremonies Burial grounds v cremation

20 Any questions or comments?

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