Non religious funeral celebrant in Sussex

Humanist trained independent and Non Religious Funeral Celebrant in Sussex

This is the website for Steve Thomson.  I am a Humanist trained, independent and non religious funeral celebrant based in Chichester and covering the whole of Sussex and Hampshire.

Many people think that to have a funeral there has to be some kind of religious or faith-based ceremony. In fact many funerals are non-religious or incorporate just a small amount of religious content. The most important thing is that you or your loved one has a funeral that is meaningful, personal and truly encompasses their wishes.

This doesn’t mean that a non-religious funeral is any less respectful or dignified than a church funeral. However, if the deceased person didn’t have a faith, or a strong faith – perhaps they identified as atheist, agnostic or humanist – then an independent funeral is almost certainly going to be in keeping with what that person would choose given the opportunity. They may even have made their wishes known in an advance care plan or just in conversation with loved ones.

Originally I trained as a funeral celebrant with Humanists UK, however I prefer to work as an independent celebrant to ensure the funeral encompasses everything that is important to you and your loved one.

I am available to conduct independent and non-religious funerals without sticking to rigid rules and I am happy to work anywhere in the West Sussex and Hampshire areas.  I am based in Chichester but travel regularly to Havant, Worthing and Portsmouth.

What is an independent funeral?

An independent funeral is based on a conversation between the celebrant and the people organising the funeral; usually family members. Details about the person are collected, along with stories, anecdotes and other background material that will allow the celebrant to conduct a celebration of that person’s life that accurately reflects the individual.

As with any other funeral, there will be opportunities for people to say something; a reading, a eulogy, in fact whatever is right for the occasion and for the people attending. Music and other contributions can of course be incorporated. Whether you want tradition or something upbeat and celebratory, with an independent funeral anything is possible!

Throughout this, as the celebrant I will ensure that the event runs smoothly and that it is a respectful and dignified reflection of the person who has died as well as being exactly what the family or friends have requested.

As I am no longer an affiliate of Humanists UK I am able to consider the inclusion of a prayer or hymn if that is something that is meaningful for you, though I may discuss with you how best to do this. Indeed I have even, during the course of the 2020 pandemic when severe restrictions were in place, conducted a Buddhist funeral in order to give the family and loved ones the ceremony they wanted.

If you would like to know more about secular or non-religious funerals, or if you are looking for a non-religious funeral celebrant Sussex then do please get in touch.

“No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away, until the clock wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life is only the core of their actual existence.”
Terry Pratchett – Reaper Man

Arranging a non-religious funeral in Sussex

Arranging a non religious or Humanist funeral may appear to be quite daunting but it doesn’t have to be.  As an independent, non religious funeral celebrant I will come and visit you at your home (or we can have a conversation via Zoom if you prefer) and we will have a relaxed conversation about your loved one.  You may have ideas about music or readings you would like to be included in the funeral service in which case we can discuss these or if you would prefer I can suggest suitable options based on yours and your loved ones preferences.  A funeral can be a celebration as well as a farewell so often people like to include some more upbeat poems or readings.

Following our meeting I will draft a service based on our conversation and you will be able to see this and suggest any changes you might like.  The Funeral Director and I will liaise regarding arrangements on the day and I will arrive at the funeral location in plenty of time to arrange the music and ensure that everything is ready for your arrival.

The funeral director who is caring for your loved one will liaise with you regarding the time and location of the funeral service and they will produce the order of service based on the service we agree on.

Some of the locations suitable for a non religious funeral in Sussex or nearby include:

Chichester Crematorium and cemetery
The Oaks Crematorium in Havant
Worthing Crematorium
Broadwater Cemetery Worthing
The Southdowns Natural Burial site at East Meon
Petworth Cemetery
Woodland Burial site in Hove