Using technology to plan and deliver funeral and memorial ceremonies

Humanist funeral ceremonies have traditionally involved a gathering together of friends and family, to celebrate a life lived. And while it’s understandable that  people want to come together in person, during the coronavirus pandemic that’s not always possible.

With the current COVID-19 outbreak and rules on self-isolation and social distancing, we feel it’s important that families are still able to have the closure of a ceremony, even if they cannot be physically present at the crematorium.

Thanks to modern technology, Humanist Ceremonies celebrants are still able to provide personal, meaningful memorial ceremonies. Humanist funeral celebrant, Adele Chaplin shares her experiences of using technology in the planning and delivery of funeral and memorial ceremonies.

Planning a funeral or memorial ceremony

Ordinarily, funeral or memorial planning meetings take place via a family visit, conducted face-to-face,but sometimes that’s not possible. In these days of expanded communities, it is becoming increasingly  common for families to have friends and relatives all over the globe. And, where we can’t all meet in person to plan a ceremony, we make use of a range of tools available to us to give us the next best thing. 

Modern computer software, such as Skype and Google Hangouts, enable families and celebrants to video conference, giving almost the same face-to-face contact as us all sitting in one room. And of course, the good old telephone is always a reliable way of communicating when you can’t meet in person. 

I’ve used both Skype and telephone calls with great success while working with families who’ve not been able to meet in person. 

On one occasion, I had a  video call with someone who was not well enough to meet me in person. Another time, I had a Skype call with friends of the family who were based in France, and while they were travelling to the UK for the funeral, were not able to come to the family meeting. On both of these  occasions, I was able to create a bespoke ceremony – and having their input was much better than their not being able to contribute. On both of these  occasions, I was able to create a bespoke ceremony – and having their input was much better than their not being able to contribute.

Instead of family visits, celebrants are making video calls and phone calls to families

Live-streaming memorial ceremonies

But the technology doesn’t stop at the family visit. It is now possible to have ceremonies live-streamed, enabling family members and friends all over the world to tune in and participate in the ceremony. If this has issues, due to time zone differences and people’s availability, then the ceremony could be recorded and watched at a later time, thereby allowing everyone to see the ceremony and to get that much-needed sense of closure. 

‘Using video technology enables people to play a meaningful role in the ceremony from their own homes.’

Find a celebrant near you

We are continually updating our online information to reflect the availability of funeral celebrants (and temporarily removing the contact details of celebrants who are self-isolating). To find a celebrant near you, visit our Find a Celebrant page.

Featured celebrant

Adele Chaplin

Adele Chaplin lives in Ipswich, Suffolk. Adele will work with you to craft a bespoke, personal service which fits your needs. Whether you are planning a cremation, burial, green burial, memorial service, or are looking to pre-plan your own funeral service, Adele will work closely with you to build a ceremony which is both unique and memorable for you.

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