Advice for Planning a Non-Religious Funeral Service
Funeral services are often held in houses of worship, but this certainly isn’t a requirement. If the decedent described himself or herself as an atheist, humanist, freethinker, or simply non-religious, then it isn’t appropriate to include any religious references in the funeral ceremony. Even if you are religious, it’s important to honor the wishes of your deceased loved one.
Find out if your loved one had expressed any preferences.
Beyond the preference to avoid any religious imagery or references, your loved one may have expressed a preference for burial or cremation. If he or she chose cremation, perhaps they also had an opinion about interment or scattering. You can contact the funeral home to find out if your loved one pre-planned their funeral. Otherwise, ask other family members if they had ever discussed funeral plans with the decedent. Some people keep directions for their funeral ceremonies in the same place that they keep their wills.
Hold the service at the funeral home.
Since holding the ceremony at a house of worship is inappropriate, you may decide to have the service at the funeral home or at a place that held special meaning for your loved one. There may be more than one gathering. Many families choose to hold the service at the funeral home, with a reception to follow at the family home.
Assemble a list of secular readings and songs.
If your loved one didn’t leave suggestions for readings and songs, look for selections that best fit their life and character. Consider choosing readings from poets or philosophers. You could select your loved one’s favorite songs, regardless of whether they might be classical orchestral music or classic rock. Many humanists prefer that a memorial service be a celebration of life, rather than an event that dwells on death.
At Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, our funeral directors will help your family plan a funeral service or end of life celebration that best fits your loved one’s preferences and personality. Our memorial park in Oahu, HI, welcomes inquiries from families from all walks of life. Call (808) 239-8811.
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