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What does a Funeral Celebrant do?

Posted by Debbie Skyrme on Friday 30th August 2019
What does a Funeral Celebrant do?

So what exactly does a Funeral Celebrant do?

One Independent Celebrant gives a brief overview of what a Funeral Celebrant does and why they are such a valuable asset for families when facing what is undoubtedly the most difficult challenge anyone has to undertake; arrange a funeral.

Glen Etive Image Gillian Johnston

How do Families and Funeral Celebrants Connect?

A lot of Celebrants will be introduced to families by the Funeral Director.  What is not so well known however, is families do not have to take the person recommended to them by the Funeral Director, they can choose whoever they feel will be most sympathetic to their wishes. 

At the end of the day; when a couple are planning their wedding, they will decide who they wish to conduct their ceremony, why should a family arranging a funeral be any different?

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Perhaps you have heard about a particular Celebrant, or have attended funerals where a Celebrant was the officiant and you know that they are someone who will take the time to speak with them; to really listen to what they want say and to acknowledge and respect their wishes. 

A Celebrant will take all you have shared with them and weave it into a seamless tribute that will truthfully reflect the life of the person whose life is being celebrated.  It will be joyfully accurate and honest; there will be tears but they will blend with smiles and even laughter.

Is there a Right or Wrong way when it comes to Religious content?

Families are often worried about whether they need to have religious content in the ceremony; is it a real funeral if there isn’t any?  The short answer is; there is no such thing as Right or Wrong when it comes to arranging a funeral.

Many families still do prefer a Church ceremony which absolutely fantastic.  They gain so much comfort, support and peace from their religious beliefs and this has got be respected. 

A lot of families would like to include some religious content but feel it would be hypocritical to ask a Minister to Priest to conduct the service as they have not attended any religious service for many years. 

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Even the person whose funeral is being arranged, although not actively religious, may have left wishes stating they would like a hymn or a reading, something that resonated with their childhood, to be included in the service.

An Independent Celebrant can incorporate this into the ceremony because, again, there is no such thing as “right or wrong” when arranging a funeral.

Equally, many families are adamant that there will be absolutely no religious content included in the ceremony in any shape of form. Again, this is absolutely fine. 
A celebrant’s role is to respect their wishes  and reflect the life of the person who has died, honestly, truthfully and with respect.  It has nothing to do with anything else.

Every life is unique

At the end of the day the family wants to be able to walk away from the funeral knowing they have made their farewells with dignity and grace and say that their loved one was recognised.  That was my Father; my Mother; my Brother, Sister, Grandparent, Child……. Whoever it was, the important thing is their personality, and zest for life were at the heart of the entire service. 

It will be same for everyone who comes to pay their respects; they will be able to say YES! That was my friend, my workmate; we shared good times, we had fun.  I know they were here with us today.

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Funerals are emotionally draining experiences but I know I am doing something right because I get so many hugs from the mourners when the service is over and everyone is slowly leaving the crematorium or cemetery.

So if you find yourself facing the challenge of arranging a funeral, remember, as celebrants and officiants, we’re here to help you; so reach out and get in touch.

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Featured Celebrant: Gillian Johnston

Featured Celebrant: Gillian Johnston

Gillian is proud to have been working as an Independent Celebrant in Scotland since 2015 and everyday finds her love for this role grows stronger and stronger. To be able to share in some of the most significant days with couples and families is a privilege that she is truly grateful to experience

See Gillian's profile here:

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