The Government have introduced measures relating to social gathering with the aim of slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in the UK.
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland a ‘modest’ number of friends and family are now able to attend funerals or memorials, though are asked to continue to respect social distancing guidelines. The regulations set out a maximum of 30 people, though individual venues will set their own maximum allowed number of attendees, which may be lower than 30.
Celebrants will still encourage mourners not to hug, kiss, or shake hands, and instead will ask them to show compassion by other methods such as the right hand over the heart or a nod of the head.
In England funeral ceremonies (including memorials) conducted by Humanists UK celebrants continue to be legal and are allowed in venues and public outdoor spaces with up to 30 people. The legislation makes clear that ‘significant event gathering[s]… of no more than 30 persons’ can go ahead in all venues and public outdoor spaces except ‘private dwelling[s]’. Humanist celebrants are allowed to conduct ceremonies under this legislation as the definition of ‘significant event gathering’ is conditional on ‘according to their religion or belief’. Wakes following funerals are subject to the “rule of six”. Although ceremonies in most areas with strict local lockdowns are unaffected, please contact one of our local celebrants to double check.
Humanist funerals and memorials are non-religious ceremonies that support family and friends to mourn and to celebrate the person who has died. They focus on the life they led, the relationships they forged, and the legacy they left. They are based on the humanist perspective that every life is individual and valuable.
Ceremonies are conducted by humanist celebrants and are both a celebration of a life and a dignified, personal farewell. They’re the perfect option for families who want a sincere, personal reflection on the life of their loved one. This can be especially important if the person who died wasn’t particularly religious, meaning a religious funeral could feel inauthentic and not true to who they were in life.
Humanist funerals and memorial services offer a personal and fitting way to support families in saying goodbye to those who have lived without religion. Many thousands are conducted by our celebrants each year.
While a funeral director is the professional most likely to deal with the practical arrangements of a funeral, what type of ceremony you choose is entirely up to you. If you are thinking about arranging your own funeral, you may like to use our pre-planned funeral ceremony service.
Humanists UK funeral celebrants are sensitive people, empathetic to the experience of bereavement, and focused on providing a funeral ceremony that will be most fitting for the circumstances. They are familiar with cremation and burial procedures and will guide you through the whole process of arranging a funeral ceremony.
What people say about humanist ceremonies
‘You struck exactly the right tone and balance. Many people commented to me that they could not believe that you had never met her! People were also very interested to hear details of her life. For most it was the first time they had attended a humanist service of any description and I only received positive comments. They appreciated the honesty of the service and the fact that it was all about my mother with no other influences.’
‘Whilst still sad, people thought it was a beautiful and uplifting funeral and many commented that it was the most personal funeral they’d ever been to.’
We are proud to be associated with:
If you are planning your own funeral, you can find some helpful resources here.
You may also like to buy a copy of Humanists UK’s book, Funerals Without God.