Funeral Service: Religious or Secular?

By: Powers Funeral Home
Monday, March 20, 2023

If you are talking to funeral homes in Ridgeway, SC. about your loved one’s arrangements, you may be wondering if you should have a religious or secular funerals service for them. If your loved one was very religious, then this will be an easy decision to make. But what if your loved one was more spiritual than religious or if they never really made their beliefs or last wishes known? Keep reading as we take a look at these two types of services and how they compare so that you can better choose.

Characteristics of a Religious Funeral Service

A religious funeral service is going to be one that focuses on the religion of the deceased and that religion’s beliefs and rituals. It will be focused on the afterlife and celebrating the life after death.

The elements of the service will include things like hymns and other religious songs, readings from holy books, and prayers given by religious leaders. There may be other religious texts or passages read.

Characteristics of a Secular (Non-Religious) Funeral Service

The non-religious, secular funeral service will also include music and readings but they will be of a secular nature. For instance, instead of hymns being played or sung, the music choice my be a pop song or other song you hear on the radio.  

Rather than religious text being read, the readings may be that of a poem, song, or lyric that has special meaning to the deceased or their family.  

Order of Service

Even though the elements of the services will differ, the order of service for both is very much the same. Typically the order will go something like: 

  • Welcome / Introduction
  • Music selection played of sung
  • Prayer or reading recited
  • Eulogies delivered
  • Music selection or tribute video played
  • Prayer or blessing
  • Thank yous and Acknowledgements
  • Closing remarks

Funeral Attire for Religious and Secular

What you wear to a funeral doesn’t change whether it is a religious or secular service. Unless otherwise noted by the family, both services should be attended in clothes that are conservative, solemn, and dressy. This means dark colors such as black, gray, dark tones of greens, purples, blues. For ladies a pant or skirt suit is nice as well as a dress or a dress shirt and slacks. For men, a suit is appropriate. Men could also wear dress slacks with a dress shirt and tie. 

If you are unsure of what to wear, imagine you are going in for a very important job interview and dress for that occasion.  

What is the Length of the Services?

Since the order of service is similar for a religious service as well as a secular service, they can run the same length in time. Of course, every service is different in that the family can add or omit certain aspects. This makes each service a unique time frame in length. Typically both religious and secular services last anywhere from about half and hour to a full hour. 

Final Thoughts

While most people think of funerals as being more religious in nature and tone, the truth is they can also be held in a very non-religious, more secular way. As directors of funeral homes in Ridgeway, SC. we are here to help you plan the perfect and most appropriate service for your loved one.  

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