The service I offer
"Love lives on forever in the heart.
We honour the memory of those who have gone by celebrating the meaning their lives had for us, by sharing our experiences, and by taking the time to grieve at the loss we feel at their passing.
The role of the funeral celebrant is to coordinate the presentation of the funeral service itself, usually in conjunction with a Funeral Director chosen by the family of the deceased.
On being contacted by the family or funeral director, I will take some brief details of the plans that have been put in place and then organise to meet with family members as soon as possible. While generally the initial contact will be via a funeral director, families are welcome to make the celebrant their first point of contact. Due to the differing roles, almost all funerals will involve a funeral director's services.
Meeting with the family
After being engaged, I will meet with those who knew the person being honoured as soon as possible. Information from family and friends will be used to prepare a eulogy as part of the funeral service. I will be available as required to family members and their funeral director in the days leading up to the service.
Presentation of the Service
Funeral services usually progress through the following five stages:
This will take the form of a welcome to everyone in attendance and an introduction by the celebrant of the course the ceremony is to take. The purpose of the introduction is to place the congregation at ease and to lay out what is to come.
The eulogy is a prepared biography giving details of the life of the departed. The preparation of the eulogy is central to the skills of the funeral celebrant. The eulogy can be prepared by a member of the family or family friend, however I recommend that you allow the celebrant to review it before presentation and to assist in final editing.
The exact form and content of the eulogy will vary according to the individual. It is the most important opportunity to reflect the personal qualities, values and life journey of the deceased. Funeral services are often stressful and emotional time for all concerned and so is often best for the eulogy to be composed and read by the celebrant on behalf of everyone concerned. As a professional celebrant, I have the skills and experience to prepare a eulogy which appropriately reflects the feelings and memories of all of those who will be in attendance.
Most funerals nowadays are for people who were neither religious nor churchgoers. It is however still the case that many in our community maintain a general religious belief. Many families choose to reflect this by incorporating an opportunity for reflection into the funeral service. Those present can use this time to reflect or pray according to their wishes. Appropriate music is often played during this time, particularly if there is a piece of music that has special meaning for family and friends.
Of course, in cases where there is a religious tradition reflected in the life being honoured, religious elements and prayers can properly be incorporated into the service.
Readings can be a very meaningful part of a funeral service. A wide range of texts are appropriate, from classical religious texts (The Lord's Prayer, or the 23rd Psalm) to more modern readings. Readings can be a valuable way to include family members in a way which is structured within clear limits. This allows them to contribute to the ceremony without needing to resort to their own words at what is properly a very emotional time.
At the conclusion of the service, those present are invited to stand for some final words. This is an opportunity to bring together the threads of the funeral service, to personalise the service and to finally farewell the deceased as the coffin is removed, whether for burial or to the crematorium chamber.
For further information or to discuss your particular needs, please contact me.
The following links provide some useful information and resources for those involved in organising funeral services:
• Find a Funeral Director (Australian Funeral Directors Association) - www.afda.org.au/funeral-directors
• Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement - www.grief.org.au
• Plan Your Own Funeral - www.mywonderfullife.com
• Healing Hearts for Bereaved Parents - www.healingheart.net
• The Bereavement Care Centre - www.bereavementcare.com.au
• The Lasting Post (Readings and Funeral Poems) - www.lastingpost.com
• Bible Readings & Psalms for Funeral & Memorial Services - www.churchofengland.org
• Suggested Music for Funerals & Memorials (Funeral Celebrants Association) - www.funeralcelebrants.org.au
• E-Closure - Close social network accounts of your deceased family (paid service)- eclosure.com.au
Registered Celebrant #A16929
© Australian Ceremonies 2014