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Who can conduct a funeral service?

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Published 28/06/2021
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Many people assume that funeral services must be conducted by officials such as Funeral Directors or religious leaders, but actually anyone can conduct a funeral, even friends and family members. Funerals are not a legal requirement; it is up to the wishes of the deceased and their relatives as to what kind of funeral, if any, is held. Who conducts the funeral can depend on the type of service you choose to have.

Religious Leader

Religious funeral services are usually led by religious leaders such as priests and vicars, and usually follow a set service incorporating religious readings and prayers. Religious funeral services commonly take place in a place of worship and depending on the religion, the deceased may not be required to have been an active member. For example, the Church of England allows religious funerals even for those who were not active churchgoers. The deceased does not need to have known the religious leader, though it does help them when speaking about them. They will likely gather information about the person who has passed away from their family and friends to gain a better picture of their life.

Civil Celebrant

A civil celebrant officiates ceremonies that are rooted in religion, such as weddings and funerals, but from a non-religious perspective. They are able to incorporate religious elements at the wishes of the family, for example hymns or verses, but have no religious authority. The services do not tend to have a set form, but are tailored to the family’s wishes.

Humanist Celebrant

Humanist funerals are non religious and led by a celebrant, and focus on celebrating the life of the deceased while also expressing sadness at their loss. A humanist celebrant will not incorporate any religious aspects, as a humanist funeral is entirely non religious. However they will spend time with the family to discuss their loved one and try to personalise the service as much as possible.

Family and Friends

Some families choose to lead the funeral themselves. Sometimes one person will be chosen to lead the service, and others will read eulogies, while sometimes more than one person is chosen to lead the service. The person or people chosen to lead the service should be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd and there should be a plan in place for the service, so that everyone involved knows who is speaking and when. This is an excellent way to share memories of your loved one with the people who knew them best.

Thank you for reading, hopefully you have learnt a little more about who can conduct a funeral service.

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