Independent Minister and Celebrant
funerals - what an awful funeral

Funerals have often had a bad press - sometimes well deserved! Stories of the vicar muddling names, arriving late, even being a little "the worse for wear" are all too common. Whilst some of these may be exaggerated or made up, most of us know of something that went wrong.

When you think about it, we only have one chance to get it right! If you've lost someone precious you are surely entitled to expect those involved to do all we can to honour their memory.

Families often begin by saying that the person was not religious. So I don't assume that they will want a clergyman in a robe striding in front of the coffin chanting what can sound like religious mumbo jumbo!

We can make it far more personal, with the person's life and character as the focus of the day. Usually family and friends tell me positive and significant information about their loved one. This isn't always the case however, but usually there is much that can and should be said. So we make the tribute or eulogy the focus of the occasion.

Sometimes it is best if I prepare and present the tribute. On other occasions there are those who want to speak, even if simply to share one or two precious memories. Whatever seems right, we can plan it together.

Music is really important. We might sing a hymn or two. Or quite likely there will be no religious music at all. Most crematoria now use the Wesley Music System which can access from a database of thousands of tracks - from classical to heavy metal, from The wind beneath my wings to the theme from On the Buses! Check out the Music section on this site.

There are several things people often worry about. Will there be sufficient time? Where do we all sit? At a cremation, do I have to have the curtains closed, and will I see the coffin "going through"? Is it appropriate for children to attend? Do people have to wear black? How do I produce an "order of service" for people to use and take home as a memento? All these and other questions we can sort out when we talk.

There are so many other ways that a service can be personalised. You may wish to have a white dove released, or balloons. You can book a live piper to lead the procession into the chapel (ear-plugs optional!). You could arrange to have a short DVD with photographs of your loved one and their life shown in the chapel.

I would love to talk to you about these and other aspects of the service. Please get in touch if you would like me to help.