Experience as a Funeral Celebrant
I have many years experience of preparing and conducting funeral ceremonies, and in 2018 became accredited with Humanists UK as a Funeral Celebrant.
I work across Greater London and the surrounding local authority areas (Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Surrey).
Music, opera, ballet, reading novels, biographies, and diaries, walking, international travel.
I also work part-time as a non-religious Chaplain within the Department of Spiritual and Pastoral Care ain a London NHS Foundation Trust. In addition to the Ceremony aspect of the funeral, I also bring pastoral care and support, and a sensitivity to issues around loss and bereavement
Mental Health, Autism, and Intellectual Impairment
In addition, I bring to my pastoral and celebrant work many years professional experience of working with people who have mental health issues, people on the autism spectrum, and people with intellectual impairment (learning disability) – and work with their families and carers. I am a “Champion” of the national “Time to Change” campaign, challenging mental health stigma and discrimination.
I offer specific experience and skills in providing a service for members of the LGBT+ communities.
Non-Religious – but with sensitivity and flexibility
I conduct funerals for people who wish to have a Humanist or non-religious ceremony which is not an “act of worship”. However, I acknowledge that, in some instances, not everyone attending the funeral will be non-religious; I believe in being flexible and inclusive. Therefore, if it is appropriate, I am happy to include a religious item such as a prayer, hymn, poem, or devotional reading.
Planning the Ceremony – what I offer
If you decide to use my services as a Non-Religious/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.
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;
- welcome and opening words;
- a short 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 : email@example.com
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.
Recent Feedback from people who have used my services:
“(We) would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ for the wonderful service you provided us on the loss of our dad. You made it very respectful and sincere and everyone commented on it. Thank you again J…. x”
(JF : September 2019)
“Thank you for all the time you gave to us. Mum said your conversations with her, helping her to focus on the good things about dad’s life, and the happy memories, helped to uplift her, and to deal with the loss a bit better”.
(LF : September 2019)
“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”
(MB : 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”
(CP : March 2019)