Ask A Celebrant - CCN Blog

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More CCN Blog posts can be found in the Blog Categories to the right.

D2KDay – 8 August 2019

DTK Day is on 8th August 2019. To quote the Dying to Know Day website "Too many of us are dying in a way not consistent with our values or wishes. Too often, we feel ill-equipped to support loved ones who are dying, caring or grieving. Dying to Know Day is designed to change this by activating conversations and curiosity."

Today’s blog is written by CCN Committee Member, Melanie Lawson.
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Recent Comments

assisting in dying with dignit...

I have the conversation with individuals with different background
Monday, 29 July 2019 12:56
Roslyn McFarlane

D2K a great initiative

I am looking forward to starting the conversation in my area.
Thursday, 25 July 2019 17:31
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Remembering Loved Ones

The 11th of November is Remembrance Day.  This is the day we pay our respects to those soldiers who died in the First World War.  It marks the day the war ended and at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month we observe a minute silence to remember and think about all the people who have died in wars since.  There are lots of ways to remember our loved ones after they've died - here are just a few ideas...

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Different ways to remember

Different ways to remember....

Why do we memorialise people and events?

It is such an important part of grieving and it is just simple common sense that all of humanity has an innate desire, even emotional need to stay connected with itself through the ages.

To want to be remembered and to want to remember is a natural part of being human.  When we mark our history through memorials we not only ensure that we will not forget the person or event that we are paying tribute to, but that it is there for our future generations as well.

Here are some different ways we can memorialise a person or event:

* Have a gravestone or plaque

* Erect a statue

* Plant a tree

* Add a 'legacy person' for your Facebook page and ask them to memorialise your page after you've died

* Have an annual get together of loved ones to talk and reminisce about the person who has died

* Get a tattoo

Visit the place where the event happened

* Keep your loved one's ashes in an urn

* Play music that reminds you of the person, place or event

* Hold a memorial ceremony

Speak to a CCN Celebrant today about holding a memorial ceremony for your loved one.

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Sydney Celebrant - Ray Standen

This weeks featured celebrant is Ray Standen from Sydney, NSW.

My name is Ray Standen and I am a full time professional celebrant. My background follows 2 very different paths . Firstly whilst working for British Telecommunications, I was trained as a communications engineer for telephone exchanges, Telex exchanges and Data transmission duties.Later following my hobbies as a guitarist in a band and as a Disk Jockey {DJ} for the local Hotels in Brighton England, I progressed to the level of an “audio engineer” and became the sales Manager {UK} for a world leading microphone and speaker company, with direct responsibilities to Radio, Television, Recording studios and live concerts.

Following a speech that I made, I was approached by an existing celebrant in 2002, and asked whether I had ever thought of using my speaking skills as a Marriage Celebrant. The rest as they say is history.

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Challenges can be opportunities

Abstract-Floral-Butterfly-200As Funeral Celebrants we are constantly faced with challenges.  They may be minor; they may be major; how we, as professional celebrants, approach and react to these challenges (or should I say opportunities) will impact on the Funeral Service.

Recently I was asked to conduct a Cremation Service for an elderly gentleman, whose wife is in a Nursing Home suffering from dementia.  They have no known family – they were a very private couple who married in their late 50’s.  What do you say?  How do you approach the ceremony?  What theme would I underpin the ceremony with?

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Understanding differences while Saying Goodbye

The celebration of a Life is an opportunity to say goodbye, honour, celebrate, say thank you and give meaning to a person’s life.  As we are all different and unique each of us merits a ceremony that recognises our lives’ strengths, weakness and achievements and our beliefs.

No matter what your personal beliefs are, you, as the Funeral Celebrant, should honour, celebrate and give meaning to the person’s life in a manner appropriate to them.  This sometimes involves research into their beliefs and putting aside your own personal beliefs.

Recently I needed to research funerals in various faiths so I could prepare Celebrations that did not offend any of the family members while at the same time acknowledged deceased’s deeply held Christian beliefs. 

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Melbourne Celebrant - Jenni Bolton

This weeks featured celebrant is Jenni Bolton from Melbourne VIC.

My name is Jenni Bolton and I was registered as a Civil Celebrant in September 2005. Since then I have officiated at many weddings,  renewal of vows, namings and funerals.I am a secondary school teacher now working part-time to allow me time to look after my 4 grandchildren with another one on the way.I was attracted to training to become a celebrant because I love working with people to achieve a goal, and I suppose my background in education and theology gave me the confidence and the skills needed to successfully fulfill the role.

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What makes a funeral meaningful?

What makes a Funeral meaningful?

For centuries funerals have helped us to say goodbye, to honour, to celebrate and remember those we love.  Funerals can bring together families and friends who offer loving support in our time of greatest need and can offer comfort to those mourning.

A funeral is made up of different parts that when combined make an incredible meaningful experience for you, your family and friends.  It is how you, your family and friends, with the assistance of your Celebrant, combine these components that will make the funeral meaningful.

The major components of a funeral are; music, readings, symbols, committal and eulogy. 

Music – music forms an important part of many social rituals and can be used to access feelings and using music meaningfully in a service helps us to embrace our loss and can form a vital part of the grieving and mourning process.  

Readings – can be selected to capture the unique life and beliefs of the person who has died and can also acknowledge the reality of death; it is quiet appropriate to include humour here if it reflects the personality of your loved one.

Symbols – the main symbols used in funerals are flowers, candles, photos and the coffin.  Flowers represent love and beauty and placing flowers on the coffin is a way to honour the deceased.  The flame of the candle represents the spirit and for some it also represents life’s continuation beyond death.  The presence of the coffin serves as a focus for mourners and helps them recognize and embrace their loss and pain.  Family will often place items on the coffin that relate to the life of the deceased, such as tools of a trade, a fishing rod, war medals, a photo, or sporting memorabilia from their favourite team.

Eulogy – this if often the part that stays with the family and friends long after they have left the funeral and most likely the part to be talked about later.  Don’t be afraid to ask others to assist you in sharing their memories that can be included.  The eulogy acknowledges the unique life and personality of the person who has died and affirms the significance of that life for all who shared it.

Committal – In a chapel service the Committal is the final goodbye – it is the time we honour the dead with respect, honour and dignity.  The curtain closing on the coffin brings a necessary feeling of finality to the service and can be powerful to the family and friends and can assist in the healing process.  If the Committal is graveside it is the final goodbye as you watch the coffin being lowered and it can also be a powerful moment - a moment of quiet reflection, a time to say goodbye.

While each faith and culture have their own variations on the elements of a funeral and incorporating them together with those listed above will make the funeral meaningful while respecting the values and traditions of a particular faith or culture. 

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Michael - In Memory Of tribute

“A Loving Heart is the Truest Wisdom ..” Charles Dickens
Free On-Line Memorials in our "In Memory Of" section

Introducing ASKACELEBRANT''s newest section "In Memory Of" on our website.

Do you have a loved one or friend, or respect a community member for whom you would like to make a tribute for their life?

Every day there are short poppies that stand tall in the lives of families and communities who never receive a public acknowledge in the "Obits" of even the local papers. ASKACELEBRANT wants to hear some of their stories.

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Easter a time to mull about life's mysteries

Rona Goold
Coordinator Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia
Civil Marriage and Family Celebrant

Last year our family had a tragic loss when one of my husband's nephews died while snorkeling. He was 26.

His life just opening up to all the wonder of life's creation and opportunities. "Life cut short too soon, wise, soft . . ."#

It was a bitter, bittersweet time to review his life. Seeing Sam as baby, a toddler, child, teenager and young man brought back the memories hidden in the mind and heart.

His ceremony strengthened resolve to treasure all our loved ones, with awareness that life is short. To honour all those who give a part of who they are, to become a part of who we are. To be present to pain and loss. To support those who grieve beyond ending. To be present to the love within us and around us. And yet to face a new dawn with courage and hope for one more day of life's journey, knowing our turn comes inevitably to join the mystery of death.

Civil ceremonies tap deep into the human need to honour life, to share our stories, our pain, our truth and  hope. They may or may not acknowledge the specific religious beliefs of some present, but they all aim to treasure life.

Easter time can be for everyone a time to mourn and treasure the past, reflect upon presence and the present, and renew hope for the next moment.

May this Easter bring peace of mind and heart to all - with a touch of delight in the shape of an egg!

# Words texta-d on Sam's coffin.

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