A Celebration of Life

Humanist Funerals & Memorial Services

A Humanist funeral or memorial service is truly a ‘celebration’ of the life of an individual who is no longer part of the community.  The service is informed by Humanist core values and principles; it is secular in nature and non-denominational in form and content.  Since there are no formal expectations, the service can take place anywhere.  My approach to such services is to act as a facilitator supporting family and those who are wanting the service to develop a meaningful ceremony that satisfies their own vision as well as the wishes of the individual as shared by them in life or demonstrated by them through their lived experience.

Because no two individuals are alike, a Humanist “Celebration of Life” is unique. This is all the more evident when family and friends design and define the service to reflect the unique character and personality of the individual. The process of developing a Celebration of Life provides an opportunity for those creating the text and shaping the celebration to reinvent their relationship with the person who has died.  All of the emotions and many of the lived experiences with that person are taken out, dusted off, and felt anew.  There are tears and laughter, joy and pain.

In the creative process as well as the service itself, the presence of the individual becomes tangible in the memories that surface such that the lively relationship once had with the individual may transform to a relationship of memory with the person ever present in the heart and the psyche of the people who remember them best.  I might characterize this process in a Celebration of Life Service with these words: “We will fashion a mosaic here today: happy thoughts, sad thoughts, seeking to paint the best picture we can of our emotions and our loss.  So that we will leave this service having more than our own memories. We will share our memories and take with us a deeper understanding and fuller memory of Person to give us solace and comfort.


Sample of Funerals & Memorials Funeral & Memorial Services 2012 Individual History and Preferences Checklist for Funerals & Memorials


Humanism is a naturalistic, scientific, secular philosophy of life that precludes any belief or reliance upon supposedly supernatural powers.  Humanists embrace core human values of respect, responsibility, compassion and love.  We look to nature and on-going inquiry for the explanation of life, all life, rather than to a divine or super-natural power. We live our lives in the belief that this is our only life and that therefore we have a great responsibility to ourselves, and to the others with whom we share this planet, to make it the best life possible.

Humanism is an ethics or way of life based on human experience and imbued with compassion for other human beings that calls for a commitment to the betterment of humanity through the methods of science, democracy, and reason, without any limitations by political, ecclesiastical, or other dictates.  Humanism supports the separation of religion from the democratic institutions of state and governance.


“Being now forever taken from my sight, though nothing can bring back
the hour of splendor in the grass and glory in the flower.
We will grieve not, but rather find strength in what remains behind.”
— William Wordsworth