Find a funeral celebrant or minister
At Simplicity, we think funeral planning should be a simple, straightforward process. We’ve created a guide to help you find a funeral minister, civil funeral celebrant or humanist funeral celebrant to lead your loved one's service.
Finding a minister for a funeral
If your loved one was religious, it may be appropriate for a religious leader to conduct the funeral service. A religious leader does not need to have known the person in order to officiate their funeral service as they will consult with you in order to prepare a fitting service for your loved one.
The Church of England will perform a funeral service for anyone, regardless of their commitment to the Church. Wherever a funeral is taking place, a Church of England minister can lead it.
You can use the A Church Near You website to find a funeral minister. You can search by postcode to find the parish local to the crematoria where your loved one’s funeral is taking place. This will show you churches within the area. You can then view more details about that church, including contact information. You can usually telephone or email the church, and the vicar or another church contact will respond to your enquiry.
We appreciate your loved one may have followed an alternative religion. We have simply provided guidance on contacting a Church of England minister as it is the established state religion in England.
If you would prefer an alternative religious leader, we’d recommend you contact your place of worship.
Find a civil funeral celebrant
Civil funeral celebrants are not part of any religion or belief system and can perform a service with or without religious content.
A civil funeral can be an occasion for mourning and sadness, a celebration of life, or both. The focus of a civil funeral ceremony is on what you and your family want from the funeral service.
Although many people these days do not consider themselves religious, some families find comfort in familiar prayers, hymns and readings. A civil funeral celebrant will be happy to incorporate religious elements if you would like. If you want a non-religious funeral, the celebrant will also be able to do this for you.
Many civil funeral celebrants belong to the Institute of Civil Funerals (IoCF). A list of them and their contact details can be found here. All members of the IoCF abide by a code of conduct, are committed to continuing professional development and have their work monitored by the Institute.
Some of the best funeral celebrants don’t belong to an organisation. Many funeral celebrants work independently and can be found using celebrant directory sites. A site we would recommend is funeralcelebrants.org.uk, where celebrants can sign up and list their services.
Find a humanist funeral celebrant
A humanist funeral celebrant will lead a non-religious, non-spiritual service. Humanism is a philosophical belief that some people live by. Humanists do not believe in a God or an afterlife, although you do not have to describe yourself as a ‘humanist’ to have a service performed by a humanist funeral celebrant.
The humanist view is that it is best to make the ceremony a positive reflection of the departed, so a tribute to them will be central to the ceremony. The celebrant will spend time with you learning about your loved one’s life and personalities, and the memories you would like to share.
A celebrant will work closely with the family to create a unique and personal ceremony that can include songs, words, music and other tributes that reflect the life of the person who has died, but won’t include prayers or hymns. There is usually a period of quiet reflection, so those people of faith in attendance can choose to remember your loved one in a way that is right for them and their beliefs.
The search function on the Humanists UK website enables you to search for all Humanists UK accredited funeral celebrants in your local area. Simply enter your postcode and you’ll be provided with a list of people you can contact.
Choosing an appropriate officiant for your service
Choosing an officiant is an important part of ensuring your service is right for you and your loved one. Contact a few people and go with the one you rate the highest. There’s a host of funeral ministers and celebrants with different styles and offerings, so it’s a very personal choice. A good officiant will be happy to work closely with you to help you create a ceremony that is right for you and your loved one.
You should also be conscious of choosing someone local to the crematorium, as some funeral ministers or celebrants may have a limit on how far they are willing to travel.
If you are arranging a Family-led Funeral with Simplicity, we would request that you provide us with contact details for your chosen leader. This will enable us to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.