Funeral Celebrant

Effie Maclellan

Celebrating Life, Reflecting on Death: Funerals, Memorials, Scattering of Ashes

Type of Ceremony

What type of Funeral Ceremony?

Funeral ceremonies can be in accordance with:

  • the wishes of the family of the person who has died (Civil Funeral Ceremony)
  • the philosophy of Humanism (Humanist Ceremony) or
  • a person's religion (Religious Ceremony)

A Civil Funeral Ceremony is driven by the wishes, beliefs and values of the family and person who has died. The ceremony is totally client-centred, believing that families arranging the funeral are best placed to decide what should be included; regardless of the celebrant's own values, beliefs and ideas. The help and support of a professional Civil Funeral Celebrant, to respond to the client's wishes means that the most appropriate and meaningful ceremony for this final act of love and respect can be created.

A Humanist Funeral Ceremony rejects the idea of a supernatural agency, and makes no reference to any 'afterlife'. Many Humanists describe themselves as atheists: never perplexed by questions about our place in the universe. For them death means annihilation. But others consider this a very dogmatic view; and would be agnostic (unsure), even if not religious. A Humanist funeral pays warm and affectionate tribute to the person who has died, but Humanism's central belief logically excludes religious text, music or prayers in the ceremony.

A Religious Funeral Ceremony is based on the belief that there is a divine spirit: that a God or gods (or indeed goddesses) exist. A religious funeral adopts the practices, customs and rituals associated with the particular religion. Its fixed format means that a fully personalised ceremony is not possible; as families have very limited influence on the content and flow of the ceremony. People who are not religious themselves may well find a religious ceremony unsatisfactory.

Nowadays families want choice in the funeral ceremony so one of your first decisions has to be whether you want a civil funeral, a humanist funeral or a religious funeral. Whilst, in Scotland, many people still opt for a humanist funeral or a traditional religious one, an increasing number now find that their personal preferences are best accommodated within a Civil Funeral: a ceremony which can include religious elements of whatever faith or no religious content at all. A Civil Funeral can also combine other elements (such as other people speaking or singing; or the particular messages and/or words from the person who has died) to better reflect the clients' wishes. A Civil ceremony is fitting for a cremation, a burial, a memorial ceremony or the scattering-of-ashes; and can be held at a variety of locations.  If you'd like to arrange a civil ceremony, do get in touch.


Religious Service

Service taken by a member of clergy from a particular faith.  Such services normally follow the accepted liturgy of the faith in question.

Civil Funeral Ceremony

Ceremony prepared and presented by a professional Civil Funeral Celebrant. These ceremonies reflect the exact needs of the bereaved family and can include hymns, prayers or religious text, if desired.

Humanist Funeral

Funeral taken by a celebrant from the Humanist Society, Scotland or from the British Humanist Association. Such funerals are entirely secular and do not include religious text, hymns or prayers.

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