A secular or humanist funeral is a positive, dignified, non-religious celebration of the life of a loved-one. Recognising that all life ends, we accept that there is no evidence of a life after death, so we concentrate on the life that has been, taking comfort in the fact that the deceased will live on in our memories. So we celebrate the achievements of the deceased and the influence had on those that they have come in contact with and the world around them.
The music, chosen by the family, reflects the tastes, or evokes memories of those special moments shared. That could be classical, jazz, pop etc. - it could be played on the organ - played live by friends or family - or could be provided, by the family, on tape or CD. Family and friends can read their own tribute - a poem or prose - or recount their own reminiscences. Or I could read them on their behalf, We would have a quiet time for reflection, when we come to the committal. That would be the time when I would invite those who have a religious faith, to say a quiet prayer. The important thing to remember is that it is your celebration, your choice, your decisions that count.
We have two crematoria in Cornwall. One at Penmount Polwheele, Truro, and the other at Glynn Valley, Bodmin. The staff of both crematoria are extremely helpful and accommodating. At Truro there are two chapels and there is one hour between funerals. The Trelawney chapel seats about 120, and at the Kernow chapel seats about 60. At Glynn Valley there is seating for about 60. All of the chapels can accommodate an overflow. All the chapels have an organ, and facilities to play CDs and boast a hearing-aid loop system The Trelawney chapel has a removable brass cross but, unfortunately, there is a 9 ft. tall wooden cross bolted to the wall in at the Kernow chapel. The management explored and the viability and secured funding for a curtain to be erected to draw across the cross for non religious ceremonies as they do in most crematoria, but somebody, we haven't managed to establish who, put a halt to that. I think it's most insensitive. Imagine the fuss if that was a Star of David, or the Muslim Crescent. At Glynn Valley there is one removable wooden cross and a fixed cross on the dais but staff will cover that if requested.
For the ecologically inclined green, or woodland burials are becoming quite popular, whereby you would be buried in a plot, and a tree planted on top. You could be laid to rest in a cardboard coffin, a wicker casket, or even a woolen shroud. I conducted such a ceremony for my friend Henry the Jug in which he was conveyed, in a cardboard coffin decorated by his daughters, on a horse-drawn cart, led by a jazz band. The jazz band played as he was lowered to his final resting place.
One such site is Rose Farm, Chyanhal, Buryas Bridge, in West Penwith. There is also another at Pont's Mill, Par, near St. Austell. Part of the cemetery at Killivose, Camborne has been put aside for “ecological burials”.
Further sites of interest are;
For further information on secular/humanist funerals have a look at my other site, or to contact me click on the image below.
Funeral directors with whom I have worked over the last few years