How will COVID affect our ceremony?
Don't worry - we can still work together to make sure you get the best possible ceremony for the person you love. It'll just mean we have to make a few adjustments. At the moment, official guidelines say that you can have up to 30 people at a funeral (and 15 at a memorial or an outdoor ceremony). People will need to wear masks, including your celebrant and funeral director. Masks can be taken off at the lectern when someone is speaking, but will need to be put back on before going back to your seat.
One big difference is we can't meet in person before the ceremony, so all family meetings - to talk about what you'd like included and how you want to remember the person who's died - need to be over the phone or online. This is a real shame, as I really enjoy meeting families and seeing photos, and where that person lived. At the moment I am using both Zoom and Skype - but we can set this meeting up in the way that works best for you.
What about people that can't be there?
It's really hard when not everyone can be at a funeral. I am happy to help organise webcasting of a funeral, and am producing as many paper copies of the ceremony afterwards as you need.
I've never been to a humanist funeral before - what will it be like?
Humanist celebrants write unique ceremonies, using the thoughts and memories of friends and family as a starting point and firmly placing the person who has died at the centre of everything. Many people will not have experienced a humanist funeral before, and they can feel very different without the religious structure that we are often more familiar with.
Each funeral or memorial service is different, but the emphasis is always on ensuring you have a ceremony that you are happy with, and that reflects and really celebrates the person who has died. We can include readings, poems and prose, tributes, music - and any other elements you would like to include. Often people like to include a symbolic gesture such as lighting candles or laying flowers.
Do we have to have a cremation or do you also conduct burials?
The majority of funerals these days will be cremations. However, if you have decided on a burial - whether in a cemetery or a woodland plot - I can also help with that.
What does it cost?
All fees are detailed on my Services page. Fees are set within the recommended range of Humanists UK. Payment is usually arranged through your chosen funeral director, and they will advise you on this. If you contact me directly through my web site, I will arrange payment with you.
How can we book you?
You can either fill in the contact form on my website, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also contactable by phone on 07587 297657 or let your funeral director know that you would like me to lead your ceremony and ask them to get in touch with me. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about how a humanist ceremony works, or if you want to just explore whether it is the right option for you - free of any obligation.
Do you only conduct ceremonies locally?
I am based in Cambridge, but work across Cambridgeshire and East Anglia. For ceremonies beyond a 30 mile radius, I also make a small additional charge for travel costs.
We'd like to be involved in the funeral - is that possible?
You can be as involved as you want. I really value and enjoy hearing friends' and families' memories of the person who has died, and it adds such wonderful colour to a ceremony. If you would like to do a reading, play some music, put together a slide show, give a tribute - let me know, and we will make it happen. Also, remember that you do not have to do any of this if you don't feel comfortable. My job is to make the day as easy as possible for you, and deliver the ceremony you want.
Can we include any hymns or prayers?
As I am a humanist celebrant, I would not be able to read any religious material or lead any act of worship. However, perhaps there is a particular hymn that has particular significance for you or the person who has died. Maybe someone among your family and friends would like to read a religious passage or prayer. I am more than happy for that to be included in the ceremony and we can discuss details of this when we meet.
I would like to speak at the funeral but am worried I will be too upset. Can you help?
I will work with you to support you in giving your tribute, and putting together a contingency plan if you feel unable to read it yourself on the day.
Can I contact you to arrange my own funeral?
Yes - if this is something you would like to do, please get in touch and I will be happy to discuss the details with you.