By law a funeral celebrant does not require any specific training or qualifications. However, any celebrant that prides themselves on the quality of the service that they provide knows that it is more than a job, it is a vocation, and a lot of time and effort goes into ensuring that every funeral is uniquely crafted to meet the needs of the individual that has died and their loved ones. There are many professional associations for funeral celebrants, however, the Funeral Celebrancy Council has been founded with the aim of establishing a universal code of practice.
What is the Funeral Celebrancy Council?
There are many talented funeral celebrants that work tirelessly to ensure that every funeral perfectly reflects the deceased and provides a sense of closure for their loved ones. However, as it is a largely unregulated industry, there are also a minority of celebrants that do not provide a good standard of service, meaning that sometimes funeral services at best do not fully do justice to the life of the deceased, and at worse increase the grief and suffering or their loved ones.
In 2018, a survey by the Funeral Celebrancy Council found that there were twenty-three different professional associations within the industry. As a result, the council was established to bring together some of these professional associations with the primary aim of raising standards within the industry. As a new organisation they have so far completed some of their aims including creating a Funeral Celebrant Accord and drawing-up a checklist of standards. They also aim to:
- Publish professional standards
- Be the voice for funeral celebrants in the UK
- Liaise with the media in regard to funeral celebrancy
- Talk to funeral directors about fees for celebrants
The Funeral Celebrant Accord
One of the first tasks of the Funeral Celebrancy Council was to write The Funeral Celebrant Accord. This is essentially a list of five attributes and skills that would be expected of an excellent funeral celebrant. At the centre of the accord and the entire organisation is the premise that every funeral should be unique. There should never be an off the shelf funeral service, each service should be as individual as the person that has died. The five competencies are all focused on ensuring that the end goal is to deliver a unique funeral service that meets the needs of the person that has died, their family, and friends. The five attributes with brief detail are as below, the complete accord can be found here:
- Is professional: friendly and approachable, good IT skills, GDPR compliant with appropriate insurance, and well groomed.
- Cares for their clients: visit clients at home, non-judgemental, sensitive, and supportive, understands that a funeral is for the living as well as the deceased.
- Is calm and shows natural leadership: Calm and reassuring, clear, confident, and engaging speaker, responsive and adaptable to the environment.
- Writes personalised ceremonies: Every ceremony is unique and includes stories, songs, verse that are meaningful and individualised and fit the values and beliefs of the deceased.
- Cares about their self-development: Continues to learn and develop professionally.
Funeral Celebrant Checklist
In addition to the accord, the council has released the funeral celebrant checklist which is a list of points that constitute a celebrant providing an excellent service when meeting with a family and delivering a ceremony. Steve has signed up to the accord and is a huge advocate of professionalism in celebrancy.
Steve is often commended on the services that he delivers, with family and friends often thinking that Steve knew the deceased such is his ability to relay stories, set the tone, and compose a unique ceremony that perfectly reflects on the life of the person that has died and their individuality.
In terms of meeting with a celebrant, we recently wrote a blog about what to expect and how to prepare. Steve is a firm believer that a well-crafted funeral service begins with the family of the deceased, and the officiants’ ability to listen, ask questions and sensitively guide the conversation to get relevant information. Steve never uses a written speech, he genuinely takes the times to get to know each family and find out about their loved one, enabling him to speak with a real depth of knowledge; he believes that this is the best and most authentic approach and the feedback he receives is overwhelmingly positive.
Choosing a Celebrant
Choosing the officiant to deliver the funeral service of your loved one is an important task, and one that many people leave to the recommendation of their funeral director. You can, and should, take the time to ensure that your chosen celebrant will deliver a ceremony that meets your requirements, and leaves family and friends with a sense of peace and closure. Look at our 6 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Funeral Celebrant article, and we always recommend reading feedback from previous clients where possible. If you are in the Staffordshire, Derbyshire, or Shropshire areas and would like Steve to officiate at the funeral of your loved one, he can be contacted directly.