** Now Accepting Applications for January 2025 **

Off-the-shelf funerals no longer cut it, so read this book!

New American Funerals is the first guidebook in more than 30 years to focus solely on creating and conducting nonreligious American end-of-life ceremonies. 

Funerals are changing faster than ever! Now, novice and experienced celebrants don't have to figure it out on their own! Thanks to Celebrant Academy instructor, Elizabeth N. Stokes, you now have a comprehensive guide to successfully carrying out the kind of end-of-life celebrations that your clients actually want! 


Read on to learn what to expect inside Beth's amazing book! We are SO honored for her to be a part of our community! While this "manual-with-heart" was written outside of Beth's coursework with us, it exemplifies Celebrant Academy's commitment to education and is an important contribution to modern celebrancy. CONGRATULATIONS, Beth! 


American funerals have been impacted dramatically by everything from the legalization of “human composting,” to climate change, technology, demographic diversity, the rapid rise in people unaffiliated with religion, and COVID-19. As a result, we are witnessing a surge of interest in contemporary secular funeral ceremonies that celebrate the lives of loved ones without the constraints of religion. Using her experience as a funeral celebrant and instructor, author Elizabeth N. Stokes brings a humanist perspective to this domain.

Now more than ever, there is a need for meaningful ceremonies that offer an alternative to the traditional religious model. Using concepts and materials from the natural world, the arts, science, and culture, humanist end-of-life ceremonies rise to the occasion and meet the need that today’s growing secular society has for connection, beauty, and transcendence.


"Off-the-shelf material won't cut it for a culture that still seeks – in a landscape of impersonal megacorporations and algorithm'd content – genuine recognition and personality for this essential event. Many Americans find religion is no longer meaningful, yet they still want to honor loved ones with authenticity and depth. The humanist worldview stands as a refreshing contrast to traditional burial rites, and helps new generations find relevance."

- Elizabeth N. Stokes, Author



New American Funerals offers readers a comprehensive overview of all aspects of modern end-of-life ceremony design. This book gives professional celebrants strategies for writing refreshing eulogies, creating personal rituals, and designing mourning events of all kinds. Stokes invites celebrants to disengage from traditions mandated by institutions, and to be receptive to the myriad vibrant end-of-life customs found in American communities and subcultures. New American Funerals also covers pragmatic issues relevant to today’s celebrant, such as new methods of body disposition, end-of-life issues unique to queer communities, alternative fee models, racial and gender imbalances in the profession, and the larger economic context in which American celebrants work. 

Stokes brings refreshing straight talk to the role of the celebrant in the United States, demystifying what goes into creating end-of-life ceremonies and what happens behind the scenes. Written with clarity and style, New American Funerals is a valuable resource for novice celebrants, experienced celebrants, and anyone seeking creative alternatives to the model of religious funeral rites.

New American Funerals was released by 18th and Fairfax Press on September 20, 2022. It is available from IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, other major retailers, and your local independent bookstore. Softcover edition, 228 pages, $23.95 / ISBN 979-8-9866961-0-2. E-book edition, $9.99 /  ISBN 979-8-9866961-1-9


AUTHOR Elizabeth Nordberg Stokes (she/her) is a humanist celebrant who has created and performed end-of-life ceremonies for more than five years. Stokes is endorsed by The Humanist Society, and is a member of Green Burial Massachusetts, the National Home Funeral Alliance, and the Eastern Massachusetts Funeral Consumers Alliance. She teaches a course in end-of-life celebrancy at Celebrant Academy and trained at Celebrant Foundation and Institute. Before becoming a celebrant, she worked as a developmental editor specializing in fiction and memoir, and as a writer focused on science, information design, and technical manuals. Elizabeth hails from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and received a B.S. from Boston University in Communication. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her family. For more information about the author, please visit ceremoniesforlifeanddeath.com.

For more information and to purchase your copy of New American Funerals, please visit 18thandfairfax.com

Check out Beth's Celebrant Academy course on End of Life Celebrations! GO >>



Join the community of people who are making a living making life as a Celebrant!