Gretta Vosper occupies an unusual position in the Canadian landscape: she is an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada, and a committed atheist — a peculiar pairing if there ever was one. But for a new breed of atheists facing the prospect of death, she offers an ideal blend of ritual and meaning with an otherwise anti-spiritual philosophy. Particularly at the most poignant moment of their existence: Their death.

Atheists may disdain the notion of a god and an afterlife, and yet many are inclined to want something more than just the scattering of some ashes and a few kind words of tribute to mark their deaths.