The crematorium staff at Holmford in Ayrshire were very hospitable to me this afternoon, when I arrived about an hour early for a funeral. They gave me a coffee and we talked for about forty-five minutes.
They shared with me a list of songs that people ask for at humanist funerals. These include, 'Another One Bites the Dust' by Queen and 'Ring of Fire' by Johnny Cash (how apt for a cremation). This reminded me of this article from last year.
Also of interest was their observation that, at the funerals of younger people, how few people sing (or even appear to know), such familiar hymns as 'The Lord is My Shepherd', 'Amazing Grace' or even 'Abide With Me'. This perhaps suggests that whole generations are now so distant from churches and fewer schools sing Christian hymns at assemblies. I know from experience that singing hymns at funerals can be an especially forlorn experience, when I am having to belt it out. Sometimes, when I know that folk won't be up for singing, I'll suggest not doing it at all, but playing some music on CD instead.
It all begs many questions as to what helps make worship meaningful at these 'life-event' services.