All comments are posted with the kind permission of the family
"Well Steve, you certainly did [name] proud. That was the most beautiful funeral service I have ever attended. You are a lovely speaker. When you told me that you would get to know [name], I had no idea to what extent. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. [Name] would have been over the moon, I know that he would, and that bring me great comfort..."
[name] and family
I just wanted to email you. 1, to thank you for the brilliant service yesterday. 2. to tell you that it went so much better than I expected. Not in the slightest morbid. Just as you said - a great celebration of his life.
Just wanted to thank you for a brilliant evening. Cath and I really enjoyed talking things over with you. We were both a little daunted by the whole thing but you brushed all that fear aside. What a great bloke. Glad we found you.
Can't wait for our next meet up.
Greg & Cath :-)
I use the word “Ceremony" as opposed to "Service," because for me "Ceremony" implies a dynamic. Whereas a "Service" implies ritual; somthing stoic and traditional. You see, "Ceremony" is living, integrative and celebratory. Ritual is not.
I do not consider myself a ritualist at all, that is despite having worked with it quite successfully during my years within the Anglican Church. Nowadays, I am a Celebrant; someone who enters into the spirit of celebrating life's unique turning points. My Celebrancy is therefore unconventional by definition. It is always unique - always evolving. There is absolutely nothing prescriptive about it at all. Of course, there is always structure, but that is determined by the aspirations of my client, not some preconceived idea of what it should be like.
I’ve also noticed how the word "Ceremony" feels safer and more expansive when describing what I do. People expect a "Service" to follow a set form; specific words are used; it follows a set format - they expect it to be liturgical. "Ceremony" focusses on the celebration and the people involved. It is a great deal more free-flowing.
In the book Sacred Ceremony by Steven Farmer, he highlights a distinction between Ritual and Ceremony, in that the two are based on whether or not they chatacteristically change. Farmer suggests that Ritual is something that is fundementally unchanging–it is always done the same way. Whereas, Ceremony is very much more alive and so adapts to the unique circumstances it faces. I agree.
Holding Dear therefore, will always be a space for change. A place of creativity and freedom. A place for embracing your uniqueness as an individual. It will always be dynamically focussed on helping you underline those all-important transitional moments in life that need to be shared and celebrated. What is more, it will always be a place of safety.
If you are looking for something that is beyond ritual; that is much more far-reaching and so much more about you, then I would encourage you to look not to an institution, but to Celebrancy. Celebrants will help you celebrate your life in exactly the way you wish to. No rite. No set format. No preconceived ideas. Always uniquely about you and so led by your singularity.
Celebrant - the clue is in the title.