Funeral
Services

About the Service

My hope is to provide a service which meets the needs of those who are not necessarily 'churchy' but who also would not consider the humanist approach to be right for them. Many folk are not regular church-goers but that doesn't mean to say that they don't have a faith or belief or a spirituality which helps them to make sense of the journey.

It is my understanding that a funeral service should address both the life of the person who has died, in all its richness and diversity, and at the same time the needs of those who gather to say farewell.

I often refer to such services as a Thanksgiving and Celebration of a Life. Combining both dignity and reflection in thanksgiving, I also hope to contain lightness and humour in celebration, where appropriate. The time we spend together reflection upon someone's life is thus tailored specifically to that person, with a focus all their individuality and personality, their journey and their achievements. Whether they have been a notable public figure, or someone whose life has been quiet and seemingly unremarkable, to those who remember them in love every life is unique and precious. It might be that they have been for us an inspiration - in the way in which they have lived with a debilitating illness or faced suffering, or in the way in which they have served their community or nation. It could be that their understanding of the importance of family has been fundamental in how our own lives have developed. We can celebrate their strengths and their achievements, the richness of their human nature and their own individual characteristics.

In putting together the service, we can consider not just the content that is appropriate to that person and to you as a family, but also who might be best to take part. Whilst I can certainly conduct the entire service where necessary, sometimes it is right and proper for family and friends to take part too - perhaps to read a poem, play some music on their instrument of choice, or deliver a eulogy / tribute or share special memories. After the service, balloons or doves can be released as symbols of the freedom of the spirit - or simply to allow messages of love to be sent out.

Working closely with the Funeral Director of your choice, it will be my privilege to meet with you at a place and time of your choosing. We can meet in your own home, or perhaps the home of the one who has died. We can meet at the premises of the Funeral Director or wherever you are staying. Sometimes, if you are coming from away, it is appropriate to meet in my own home.

I will take time with you to talk through how you'd like the service to be, and all options and ideas can be discussed. I start with a 'blank piece of paper' because I am here to listen to what you want, not tell you what you can have. Your chosen Funeral Director and I will do all we can to meet your needs and wishes.

If the service is to be held at the Crematorium, there is an almost limitless option to the music we can provide. If the service is to be held in a Cemetery Chapel (or where some FDs have their own chapels) we can usually provide your choice of music with enough notice - or, of course, you can provide your own CDs. If you require hymns, we can also provide an organist.

I will take time with you to learn about the person who has died and about the family. The service can include a summary of their life journey, of course, but will also seek to reflect their personality and characteristics as well as their achievements and skills.

Most importantly, the service seeks to be a means by which (as you leave the chapel or wherever the service is held) you can feel that your farewells have been said in the best way possible, and that we have honoured the life and memory of the one who has died in a way of which they too would approve.

It is my hope that we can together create the means by which the gentle process of healing the pain of loss can begin, knowing that though we have to say farewell to someone we love, it is nevertheless only a part of them to whom we say that farewell - and that the life we celebrate is still a part of your life and will be for all eternity.

Ashes

Where a service has preceded cremation, I am happy to meet with you at a time and place to be arranged so that ashes can be scattered or buried. A short time of reflection is offered on this occasion, and can be tailored in just the same way as the main funeral service.

"I really don't think I could have coped
with a deep Holy do, but you were right
up my mum's street."
CM,Worthing


"Your mixture of humour, thoughtful prose and absolute
compassion was a joy in our time of sadness. Thank
you from the bottom of our hearts - this was certainly a
celebration of a wonderful life."
J & T, Shoreham.