Rites of Passage

Can you imagine attending your own funeral? The old joke is that it’s the best party you’ll never go to, but that may no longer be true.Last year, in his Channel 4 series Grayson Perry helped to create a ‘living funeral’ for Roch, a man who’d been living with Motor Neurone disease, and it was […]

Speaking at Funerals

I saw a story the other day that took me aback a bit. Father Joseph Anthony Toal is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Motherwell and he found himself all over the papers when an instruction he’d sent to his clergy was leaked to a journalist. He even made the Daily Telegraph. He told his priests to refuse requests […]

Griefcast

I was pleased to see that Cariad Lloyd’s podcast on death won three prizes at the British Podcast Awards last week. Griefcast first came to my attention in 2016, thanks to this article in The Guardian, and it’s since notched up more than 30 episodes. Lloyd is a 35-year-old actress, comedian and writer from London whose father died of pancreatic […]

Remembrance Friday

I was honoured to be asked to deliver a Remembrance address to the staff of the Scottish Government at St. Andrew’s House in Edinburgh yesterday.  As no humanist has ever been invited to be part of an official event of this kind, it meant a lot, and it seemed very fitting that it happened 99 years […]

Grieving: it’s time for Option B

I was very moved by this interview with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in The Observer, where she talks about how she coped with going to sleep beside her 47 year old husband, and waking up to discover that he was dead.Journalist Decca Aitkenhead is one of our best writers, and while she wasn’t entirely won […]

Funeral Photography

Sounds wrong doesn’t it? It’s just not done. But I think it should be. Katische Haberfeld is a photographer and advocate of ‘death literacy’ and she wrote a good piece in the Huffington Post that sets out her argument. You can read it here

Secular Funerals: A Lie About Humanity?

I’ve got a lot of time for the Reverend Giles Fraser, or  ‘The Loose Canon’ as he calls himself, but I was surprised to read his most recent article in The Guardian, in which he used Cilla Black’s funeral to say that in secular funerals, “the so-called lie about God is commonly replaced by another sort […]