About me …
I have many years experience of conducting funeral ceremonies, and in 2018 became accredited with Humanists UK as a Funeral Celebrant.
I live in Uxbridge, in the London Borough of Hillingdon, and work across Greater London and the surrounding local authority areas (Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Surrey).
I work part-time as a non-religious pastoral support worker (“Chaplain”) within the Department of Spiritual and Pastoral Care at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
In 2017 I completed my Non-Religious Pastoral Support induction training with Humanists UK, and since March 2018 I have been the Regional Co-ordinator (London) for the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network.
Previously, I was employed for 37 years in various forms of health, social care, and community development work, and from 2013 to 2018 as Director of Hillingdon Mind. I am a “Champion” of the national “Time to Change” campaign, challenging mental health stigma and discrimination.
Humanist or Non-Religious?
One of the main principles of humanism is that this is the one life we have, and we aim to make the best of this life. Humanists, also, do not believe in the existence of supernatural beings, or a supernatural world.
But you don’t have to adopt the “Humanist” label to share this non-religious world view, and you don’t have to be a “Humanist” to use the services of a Humanist Celebrant.
I conduct funerals for anyone who is seeking a non-religious ceremony.
A humanist funeral ceremony is essentially non-religious, and therefore does not contain anything like an “act of worship”. However, it may be that not everyone attending the ceremony is non-religious, and therefore it may be appropriate, in a “period of reflection”, to include a prayer, or to include a religious item which had cultural significance for your loved one, such as one of the popular hymns sung at a rugby match!
Planning the Ceremony – what I offer
If you decide to use my services as Humanist Celebrant I shall:
- arrange to meet with you and, where possible, with other close family members and friends of your loved one; through your sharing of information, listening to your stories, and looking at photographs and objects, I will build up as full as possible a portrait of the person, and what made them special for you and for those who will be attending the ceremony;
- discuss with you the ”tone” of the ceremony, striking an appropriate balance between acknowledging and respecting loss and sadness, but also celebrating your loved one’s achievements and richness of personality;
- talk through with you your ideas for what to include in the ceremony (music, readings, poetry); and make suggestions if that would be helpful;
- draft a “tribute” to your loved one, based on the information you have shared with me;
- explain the practicalities around the ceremony, what needs to be done in preparation, and what happens on the day;
- within a couple of days, draft a “script” for the ceremony, and send it to you for your approval;
- conduct the ceremony with professionalism and deep respect;
- after the ceremony, present you with a copy of the “script” which you may keep as a memorial of the life you have celebrated.
The Structure of the Ceremony
I cannot emphasis enough that my role is to help you put together your ceremony, which reflects the uniqueness of your loved one – but this may be a completely unfamiliar task for you, and I can provide support and suggestions as necessary
As a general guide, the ceremony is likely to include the following elements, some of which may be in the form of readings or poetry of your choice:
- opening music;
- opening words;
- thoughts on life and death from a non-religious perspective;
- a tribute to your loved one, and possibly tributes by other people;
- a period of silent reflection, possibly including some music;
- final farewell / committal;
- closing words;
- exit music.
If you are considering a Humanist or non-religious funeral or memorial, and would like to have further information, or discuss options and arrangements, please contact me for an informal chat, without obligation.
My contact details are:
mobile telephone : 07985 153449 email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Being invited to act as a Funeral Celebrant is a great privilege, and I would have a total focus on gaining a detailed and clear understanding of your loved one, and developing and presenting a ceremony which truly reflects the diversity and uniqueness of their life.
Some people like to plan ahead and prepare their own funeral ceremonies. I am also very happy to work with you if you would like to take this approach.
Some Recent Satisfaction Feedback:
“I wish to say a sincere ‘thank you’ for the way in which you conducted my brother’s funeral ……. You helped to ease the pain on a very sad occasion for us all by the extremely sensitive way in which you delivered the service” (April 2019)
“Christopher had to handle a very awkward and difficult family situation relating to the ceremony, which he managed with impressive calm and discretion. Christopher went far above and beyond to help us have a moving and respectful ceremony which truly celebrated my father’s life. Heartfelt thanks to him” (March 2019)