About FJ

Born in 1958 and brought up in Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast, John worked on Humberside and Tyneside until undertaking theological training in 1983. Ordained in Hereford in 1988, he worked as a minister in the Church of England until 2006. His curacy was first in rural ministry in South Shropshire, where he gained the affectionate nickname FJ (Father John). This was followed by a second curacy in the New Forest, where he gained first-hand experience of working with the dying and the bereaved at a local hospice.

Having then spent some years with the care of a church in Portsmouth, John came to Sussex to begin a ministry of almost twelve years as full-time non-denominational hospice chaplain. Calling on almost twenty years of experience, he now works independently of any denomination as an Independent Funeral Officiant and Civil Celebrant, and a member of the Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC).

"My own spiritual journey seems to be taking me away from traditional religious expression, and whilst I will always be a priest, in many ways I feel somewhat aligned with the comment 'Alice' made to me many years ago - rooted in an understanding of the divine and the spiritual, but not held by the constraints of institutional religion. If you feel that someone like me can help you through the difficult time of arranging a funeral service, or through the joy of a Commitment Ceremony, please feel free to be in touch either directly or (in the case of funerals) through the Funeral Director of your choice."

Wedding Blessing
Who may sing the song of Love?

Those only who give all, without reserve, hold nothing back;
'tis they who know the joy, the quickening pain of Love;
'tis they who, taught by
adoration, hold the Heart of Love; and touch all loveless hearts to life by giving Love.

Gilbert Shuldham Shaw (1886-1967)