Supporting You...

The first step in preparing the funeral is to see the undertakers. They will discuss with you the kind of person you're looking for to lead the funeral service, and on that basis will recommend a Celebrant to you. What happens next?

What You Can Expect...

Normally, the undertakers contact me to check my availability, and then pass on your contact details to me. I always try to contact families within twenty-four hours of receiving your details from the undertaker.

First contact is via telephone, but the purpose of that call is above all to arrange a time for us to meet in person. The meeting is at a time to suit you, and I'm happy to visit at weekends and evenings if that is more convenient.

The meeting is at a time to suit you...

The single most important thing we do is talk about your loved one...

When we meet, the single most important thing we do is talk about your loved one, helping me to get a real feel for their personality and character. This can take time, and the initial visit normally lasts between one and two hours. If I'm writing the tribute in honour of your loved one, those notes will be my guide in putting it together - but even if you decide as a family that you'd like to write your own tribute, it's still really helpful for me to learn about your loved one so that, in all kinds of small but important ways, I can tailor the "pitch" and content of the service to reflect their character and personality.

At the same meeting we'll also begin to plan the service, and I can offer guidance and support as you think about the various elements that go together to make up the service - music, readings, etc.

Anyone who would like to come along to that meeting is free to join us: sometimes, having more than one "voice" can really help me get a feel for the person whose life we are celebrating. Alternatively, you might prefer to keep the meeting small, and more personal - whatever works best for you.

It's also sometimes the case that we meet more than once - for example, if not everyone can be with us at the initial meeting, or if you would like some time to think a little more about the service and its contents.

Once we have planned the service, I send the details through to the undertakers, who will then make sure that any music you've requested is prepared in advance by the crematorium.

After the meeting, I usually send you through a copy of the notes I've taken, so that you can check we haven't missed anything and that I've recorded everything correctly. I then use those notes to prepare the service.

On the day of the funeral I meet you at the crematorium, and lead you through the service. Occasionally, families like to invite the Celebrant along to the wake/reception afterwards, and I'm always happy to join you if I can.

Our contact doesn't end with the funeral service...

Either way, our contact doesn't end with the funeral service itself. With a professional background in pastoral care, I always make a point of contacting families in the months after the service, just to see how you're doing and to offer any additional support I can. There's often a "dip" in the grieving process a couple of months after a bereavement: life begins to settle down and move on, and people slowly stop asking how you're doing. This can be a lonely experience, and so I usually try to time my follow ups accordingly.

The "follow-up" is often brief and straightforward - perhaps a phone call, or a letter -  but sometimes, families need a little extra support as they come to terms with their loss. That might mean me meeting with you, to provide a "a listening ear" or, more commonly, it might mean me acting as a "signpost" to other types of support and help that are available to you in your local community: perhaps something as simple as putting you in touch with social clubs/activities to help you "get out and about again", or it might be professional grief support and counselling.

With a professional background in pastoral care, I always make a point of contacting families after the service to offer any additional support I can