On 23 March 2020, the Government introduced new restrictions on social gatherings including stopping all social events, except funerals.
From this point onward, only immediate close family members are advised to attend funerals.
Because people will not be able to gather to offer condolences and pay their respects in the usual way, some families may decide to live-stream the funeral ceremony using the webcam at their local crematorium, while others may decide to hold a memorial service at a later date. If no one can attend the funeral, families may choose an online or simultaneous memorial service to bring people together, not in one place, but all at the same time.
A humanist funeral is a non-religious ceremony that is about the person who has died, the life they led, the relationships they forged, and the legacy they left behind. It is both a celebration of a life and a dignified, personal farewell – and an ideal option for families who want a sincere, personal reflection on the life of their loved one.
Over the coming weeks, our funeral celebrants will be helping families to plan ceremonies by telephone or video calls, rather than meeting in person. They will spend time getting to know a loved one’s life story, and work with the family to draft a meaningful, fitting tribute.
For anyone who needs to self-isolate while organising a memorial, our celebrants will make everything as easy as they possibly can and there is no need to meet face-to-face.
Following new industry guidelines, celebrants leading funerals at this time will encourage mourners not to hug, kiss, or shake hands and instead to show compassion by other methods such as the right hand over the heart.
Celebrants will advise families to only have ‘essential attendees’ at funerals and that they must obey social distancing rules. Neither ‘orders of service’, nor song sheets are advised instead, where possible, if songs are permitted, lyrics should be displayed on a large screen.
Humanist celebrants conduct over 10,000 non-religious funerals every year in the UK, many of which are live-streamed to family members and friends participating from their own homes. It is likely that demand for live-streaming will increase over the coming weeks. Please check if this facility is available at your crematorium.
If you would like to discuss a funeral or memorial ceremony, you can find your local humanist funeral celebrant via our website.