The Ways We Say Goodbye

The ever excellent British Religion in Numbers website has some fascinating stats on funerals.

Here’s a taster:

67% of Co-operative’s funerals still take a traditional form, in accordance with the rites of a particular religion, and generally including a service led by a recognized minister, followed by burial or cremation.

However, 21% are characterized as contemporary, where the emphasis is on celebration of an individual’s life and personalization of the funeral service, albeit an element of religion (such as a hymn or prayer) may still be retained.

12% of funerals arranged by Co-operative Funeralcare are classified by them as ‘humanist’, entirely without a religious component. They may be led by a humanist official, or by family and friends of the deceased.

And this:

Following this trend, only 36% of funerals now have purely religious music, the remaining 64% using contemporary music, classical music or a mixture of styles. So, in this and other respects, even religious ceremonies are being modernized and ‘secularized’.

Make sure you check out all of the juicy info as well as the top funeral songs. I know many folk won’t like this comment, but I always feel gutted when I hear the number one song played at the funeral of a non-Christian.


5 Responses to “The Ways We Say Goodbye”

  1. Elaine Brennan Says:

    Well I suppose the family of the person and the person themselves should get last say in their funeral what ever brings them comfort in the time of their grief. I love the top song in the list and can understand why it is at the top. Considering our community is changing and the numbers of religious and non-religious people are constantly moving it’s unsurprising that when you add it all up a non-religious song is top. I wonder if you look at the song statistics for religious funerals only it’d be a religious tune at top?

  2. Graham Smith Says:

    At least anyone who chooses “My Way” to be played at their funeral is being honest! So many of us try to do it God’s way, but fail.

    On the subject of funerals, I think I am correct in saying, from the number of referrals ge gets, a local Christian makes his living from officiating at non-religious funerals. I am told that he finds getting to church quite difficult, as Sunday mornings are a popular time to meet with the relatives who are making the arrangements.

  3. Sophie Says:

    More than once I’ve heard “My Way” described as a classic drunk’s self-justification. The lyrics don’t suggest a man trying to do his best, only one determined to do what he wants.

    As a choice for a funeral it strikes me as in poor taste. You can imagine the congregation: the three ex-wives, all his mates from the pub, the creditors – and this dreary flippin’ song!

    I’ve been to several Humanist funerals and they’ve been lovely. Having thought it over, I think it’s because being so new they haven’t got all that tradition behind them, so the celebrants try to be more personal – perhaps put more effort into it. Though my husband’s Christian funeral was beautiful (we had hymns) though we had the very irreligious “Always look on the bright side of life” at the crem, because he loved that song.

  4. Gordon Says:

    The Co-Op has its own brass band who record CD’s for funerals

  5. Simon Says:

    I saw an advert for the Co-op funeral service on a phone box in town today. It had a picture of a smiling, healthy-looking fifty-ish man holding a snooker cue and propping up a snooker table. The only words, apart from the Co-op’s name and contact details were “My song: My Way”.

    Somebody in marketing has been looking at these stats. I found that inexplicably depressing.

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