Anita Peters, humanist celebrant and program director for the Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County, a chapter of The American Humanist Association, recently attended a three-day workshop to become a certified funeral celebrant and life tribute specialist. The training was held in Boston as a pre-convention workshop sponsored by The National Funeral Directors Association Convention, Oct. 27-29.

A funeral celebrant is a lay person, clergy person or funeral director who has been trained in the specific area of conducting funerals for families who wish to have a personalized and individualized funeral service experience.

”Across cultures and religions, funeral services offer the bereaved a time and place to begin the healing process after the death of a loved relative or friend,” Peters said. “Celebrants collaborate closely with funeral directors to provide families with a personalized memorial program to honor the deceased.”

People who are not affiliated with a religion or theology do not have a clergy person on whom to call in times of death. According to The Pew Research Institute, about 25% of U.S. adults think of themselves as “spiritual but not religious” and within that group 49% have low levels of religious observances.

“Funeral celebrants offer families and funeral homes a secular alternative to a traditional religious ceremony that is personal, healing and engaging,” Peters said.

According to Peters, this practice is used widely in New Zealand and Australia. Doug Manning of the InSight Institute, one of the leading speakers and authors in the area of bereavement, toured these countries several years ago and brought back the idea to the United States and Canada. By the end of 2016, he and Glenda Stansbury had trained more than 3,000 funeral celebrants throughout the two countries. They led the training program Peters attended.

Information: anita@markthisdaywithlove.com or 203-536-6203.