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The untimely death of the funeral

The untimely death of the funeral

Financial Times Consumer Editor, Claer Barrett, comments on findings from Theos report ‘Love, Grief and Hope’ 02/12/2023

Should we mourn the slow death of the traditional funeral?

The soaring cost of ceremonies and an increasingly secular society mean that fewer than half of Britons now want a funeral, according to a study this week. This raises the question, what do they want instead? The answer — which anyone who watches daytime television will surely know — is a direct cremation.

Also known as a “takeaway funeral”, the rise of a cheap, no–frills cremation with no relatives in attendance started under lockdown, but has remained enduringly popular, now accounting for nearly one in five UK deaths. Costs are kept low by using out–of–the–way crematoria, often very early in the morning before traditional ceremonies with mourners and wreaths begin.

Read the full article here.


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Image by the Financial Times

Madeleine Pennington

Madeleine Pennington

Madeleine is Head of Research at Theos. She holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford, and previously worked as a research scholar at a retreat and education centre in Philadelphia. She is the author of ‘The Christian Quaker: George Keith and the Keithian Controversy’ (Brill: 2019), ‘Quakers, Christ and the Enlightenment’ (OUP, 2021), ‘The Church and Social Cohesion: Connecting Communities and Serving People’ (Theos, 2020), and ‘Cohesive Societies: Faith and Belief’ (British Academy, 2020). Outside of Theos, she sits on the Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations.

Watch, listen to or read more from Madeleine Pennington

Posted 2 December 2023


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