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How To Officiate A Funeral - Example Ceremony - Semi-Religious Cremation Service

This is an example ceremony for a semi-religious cremation service

The whole service takes place in the crematorium chapel and this is an original script which we have altered slightly in order to portray the officiant as a friend, colleague, or relative of the deceased.

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We suggest that the acting funeral officiant should read this script through completely at least once as this will aid the officiant in understanding the context and style that this example script was originally written in, then the officiant can return to any particular points of interest.

As this is the main guide and will often be referred to from other guides it is unfortunately quite lengthy so if you are serious about acting as a funeral officiant then give yourself enough time to read and understand your role thoroughly.

But do also try to keep in mind that this is just a guide and should only be used as such, we have tried to cover all possible issues that you might encounter and we go into great detail describing your responsibilities and obligations as someone who has taken on the honourable role of funeral officiant.

We assume that you have never acted as a funeral officiant before and we guide you step by step through the example ceremony below.
It might appear at times that we are over explaining and including unnecessary details, this will be helpful for some people but perhaps not for overs, our main aim with this guide is to help you to be the best that you can on the day, the best for yourself, for the family, for the mourners, and most of all for the deceased.

Your role in the proceedings can make the difference between a day for everyone to remember and one to try and forget. (No pressure though! Smile)

Don't stand too much on ceremony if it is not your usual style, be yourself, but be yourself as a funeral officiant.

Good Luck.

As this is a cremation ceremony you may also be interested in this link to Cremation Answers

All, some, or none of this guide may or may not be useful or relevant to you in your particular situation.

Purely for the sake of this guide the funeral director is assumed to be a man and is often referred to as he or him, but it could just as easily be a woman, to even things up in some of the future guides it will be.

Your comments and experiences regarding the content on this page are welcome here.

Arriving At The Crematorium

Example 1 - Arriving at the crematorium with the family:

If you decide that you are going to travel to the crematorium with the family then traditionally the officiant sits in the front of the hearse with the funeral director in order that he or she can be positioned ready to greet the family/chief mourners Whom presumably in this case will be behind the hearse in the following vehicles. as they arrive at the chapel.

{Tip} This must be previously arranged with the family and the funeral director but it is a poignant and memorable start to the proceedings if you can carry it off.

Once inside the crematorium gates it's not unusual for there to be a short drive leading to the crematorium chapel, at some appropriate point along this drive stop the cars and invite the family to accompany you as you all lead the cortege and escort the deceased on his or her final journey by walking the rest of the way to the chapel, confirm with the family that this is still their wish just prior to leaving for the crematorium as some or all of the family who may have previously agreed to this honour may not now be able to do it, in which case there might not be any point in stopping the cortege unless you wish to walk alone or with the funeral director.

The following is an example of how we have carried out this scenario in the past but you must do whatever you and the family involved are comfortable with, it certainly doesn't suit all occasions and should not be suggested Keep in mind that the officiant in this example also happens to be the funeral director which means that he has established a good rapport and relationship with the family and is therefore in complete control of all proceedings.unless you feel the family might be receptive to the idea.

The officiant stops the cortege at around one and a half to two minutes walk from the chapel and alights from the hearse; he then positions himself at a point to the side of the hearse that is roughly in line with the centre of the coffin and about four feet away, facing the hearse and the coffin the officiant pauses for just two or three seconds before bowing his head for a brief second or two as an acknowledgement and show of respect to the deceased, then pausing again for two or three seconds more before approaching the first car, opening the door and saying something like "would anyone in here like to accompany me as an escort on the last part of Name's final journey?"

The officiant is then joined by all or some If anyone has changed their mind about walking with you then don't try to persuade them otherwise, just sympathetically say something like "its ok I understand" if for whatever reason no one wishes to join you, then you should not get back in the hearse but instead walk alone and perhaps ask the funeral director to accompany you. members of the immediate family and he leads them to the front of the cortege where they will form a line The family will usually instinctively form into pairs and the officiant will hope that he has a lady or a young person to either side of him as some male family members may be uncomfortable with what follows next, in which case the officiant may prefer to just join the line in a more appropriate position, in any case if there is one or two people who are having a particularly difficult time he will ensure that they are at either side or at least close to him should they need reassuring. across the drive with the officiant in the middle, before proceeding the officiant says "shall we link arms or hold hands"? Thus indicating that they are definitely going to do one or the other as there is not another option.

As everyone holds hands the officiant says something like "I know this might be difficult for some of us, but let's do this for Name", he then proceeds forward leading the family line as he gives the two people who are holding his hand a slight reassuring squeeze saying "let's all walk tall..... our heads held high with confidence and courage..... let everyone see how proud we are to be doing this....... and lets imagine how proud Name would be to see us now" This should all be performed spontaneously, confidently and without fuss by the officiant as he now takes partial control of the proceedings.

At the chapel there will be other mourners congregating as they await the cortege, so as the line approaches the chapel the officiant says something like "I know you will recognise many of these people waiting for us but there is no need at this time to acknowledge them, just keep focused on our walk and look straight ahead for now", as the line gets closer to the chapel the officiant leads the line off to one side of the drive, where, having released hands the family stands as the cortege drives slowly past and then stops at the chapel entrance.
The officiant then shakes hands Or gives a brief hug if appropriate. with, and personally thanks, all the line members, inviting them with a gesture of his hand to join the rest of the congregation.

Briefly, some other alternative options to this scenario are:

  • Position the family around the hearse as escorts, which means that they can hold on to or touch the hearse if they want or need to, the officiant then leads the cortege, or the funeral director leads the cortege and the officiant walks behind him or preferably behind the hearse where he or she will be in a much better position to keep an eye on things.
  • Position the family behind the hearse and ask the funeral director to lead the procession, the officiant then walks with the family at the rear keeping an eye on things and ready to lend support if needed.

It would be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the layout and facilities of the crematorium in advance, just phone or call in at the crematorium offices to arrange it, introduce yourself and explain who you are (in relation to the deceased) and what you are doing.

All crematoriums are designed differently and will not be the same as the example layout that is described in this guide, which is why it is important that you should pre-visit the crematorium and chapel where you will be officiating, it will be similar in many ways regarding protocol and procedures but these things still need to be confirmed.

Ask to be shown around the crematorium facilities, you may get lucky and have the whole tour including the cremators, but if not then the very least you want to know is:

  • Where are the toilet and washroom facilities?
  • How much time is allocated for the service?
  • What will happen at the committal ie: will curtains close around the catafalque, will the coffin remain in view, or will the catafalque descend below the floor?
  • Where are the main entrance and exit doors to the chapel, if the entrance door is also the exit door, then how does that work in relation to one service following another?

Some of these questions may have been answered during your visit to the funeral director, even so, its still a good idea to familiarise yourself with the crematorium and chapel layout in advance as you may not have the opportunity to do so on the day of the funeral, particularly if there is another service in progress when you arrive.

Example 2 - Arriving at the crematorium before the family:

Plan to arrive at the crematorium chapel at least ten to fifteen In any case whatever happens make sure you are there before the cortege arrives. minutes before the start of the service.
Make sure you have with you your script and any important notes you have made, your spectacles if you need them and also a bottle of water and a couple of small plastic cups or glasses.

When you arrive at the chapel there may already be people congregating, try not to get involved with heavy or lengthy conversations which are likely to be distracting.

There may be one or two ushers at the entrance to the chapel, if so then go and say hello and introduce yourself to them, ask if things are running to schedule Not that you can do anything about it if there is a delay, but at least you will know. and if there is likely to be any delay, it's also a good idea to ask if there is another service If there isn't then you can breathe a sigh of relief because now the pressure to ensure you don't over-run with your ceremony is greatly reduced, and you have one less thing to worry about. immediately following on from yours.

If the chapel is empty, then now would be a very good time to place your script on the lectern with the water and glasses nearby, if the chapel is still in use then give the items to the usher and ask him or her to do it after the current service.

{Tip} If possible liaise with the family and the funeral director in order to try and arrange the service as either the last one on the morning which will be prior to the staff lunch break, or the last one in the afternoon which will be just before closing time.
This will guarantee that there will not be another service following on from yours and no one is going to complain If you do happen to run over then a gratuity to the ushers would not go amiss. if you run slightly over schedule, but they might complain if there are others waiting to use the chapel because this has a huge knock on effect and puts everyone's timing out.

A far better but unfortunately more expensive option is to double book the chapel, this means that if the usual time allowance is say 30 minutes then you will be allowed 60 minutes, you don't actually pay double cremation fees, you just pay for the extra The cost of which is generally very reasonable, however the costs do mount up though when you consider that the extra 30 minutes time also applies to the funeral director, his staff and the funeral vehicles. 30 minutes in the chapel.

The following are examples of situations when it might be a good idea to double book the crematorium chapel:

  • Although the family may be having the usual 30 minute service they may decide to start it later in order not to clash with previous or following services. This works really well because it can mean that the proceedings feel more relaxed and less hurried, also you get pretty much complete privacy and the only other additional expense involved is the fees for the extra chapel time.
  • The family expect there to be a larger than usual gathering of mourners who wish to pay their last respects to the deceased, which means that the service is likely to overflow to the outside of the chapel. (note previous example)
  • The family wish to include extra music and or live recitals.
  • The family anticipate that there will be a lot of people who would like the opportunity to speak about the deceased

The usual practice for a church funeral service is for the mourners to enter the church when they arrive and await the start of the service.
This is generally not the usual practice for a cremation funeral service because there will often be a service in progress when people start arriving at the crematorium chapel.

If there has not been a previous service when people start arriving for your service and they notice that the chapel is empty, they may assume that they should take their place in the chapel at this time.

If there is an usher at the door then he or she may prevent this, but they may not, Particularly if it's cold outside. or the usher might not be there at all.
It only takes one or two people to enter and sit down in order to set the president, conversely it only takes one or two to wait outside for other people who are arriving to do the same.

If you should arrive at the chapel and discover people are starting to take their places inside, then don't worry about it to much because when the cortege arrives the funeral director will see what has happened and will give the family the choice of either taking their place In which case he, or you if you take the lead. in the chapel now and will escort them to their places in the chapel, which is traditionally the first two rows nearest the lectern, or he will invite them to follow the coffin bearers to enter the chapel.

If there is time, for instance when the chapel has been purposely double booked, then there is no reason why the mourners should not take their places in the chapel when they first arrive, as generally the only reason not to do so is timing and logistics.

Wait for the funeral cortege in a position where the family will easily spot Hopefully this will be the entrance to the chapel, if not then place yourself in another strategic position. you when they arrive, for their own reassurance they may need to see that you are there, therefore you need to be standing alone and be slightly conspicuous, In order to be spotted more easily. you can then convey to them through your confident posture that you are indeed there and that you have everything under control.

When you are sure that at least one of the family has seen you then step back slightly and briefly to allow the funeral director to continue with his duties.

Greeting The Family

Once the funeral director and his assistants have helped the family out of the cars and the funeral director has shown the family to the chapel entrance they will then turn their attentions to the hearse and the coffin.

Now is the time for you to greet the family, Choose your greeting words to the family carefully, if a person is quite clearly distressed, then asking "how are you?" is pretty daft, instead say something like "I know this is going to be difficult for you.... all of your family and friends are here to support you..... we will all get though this day together...." approach the chief mourners and shake hands with them in a firm encouraging manner, if your relationship with them allows and you feel it's appropriate then give them a brief and reassuring hug.

Entering The Chapel

Example 1 - Entering the chapel with all mourners following the coffin:

At this point you should be the only person standing at the entrance to the chapel, everyone else will have stepped back slightly to make room for the coffin bearers with their precious load.

We should mention that it is often at this time, which is the real starting point of the ceremony, that many people seem to get the most upset, particularly if the bearers are relatives or special friends of the deceased.

Emotional tears are highly infectious so if your own feeling's get the better of you then just go with it and allow the tears to flow, they are a natural reaction to the currently charged emotions of the situation.....

But regardless of that you must stay strong because the service will continue, which means that you also have to remain focused on your role, so keep an eye on the funeral director who will be standing to one side of the bearers, when he is happy that everything is as it should be he will signal you with a slight nod of his head, this is your cue that he is happy for the service to proceed, turn and face the usher and a slight nod of your head will signal the usher to start the entry music at this point.

Your role in this part of the proceedings is to lead the procession by walking slowly into the chapel and up to the catafalque, you will be followed closely in procession by the coffin bearers, then the funeral director, then the immediate family and lastly the remainder of the mourners.

When you reach the catafalque If you have the choice of moving to either the left or the right, then move to the side where the lectern is positioned. just pause very briefly and then move to either the left or the right to allow the coffin bearers through.

As the bearers place the coffin on the catafalque the funeral director may step forward to assist with lifting the last section as the bearers will have also moved two to either side as the coffin was pushed further onto the catafalque.

The four bearers with the funeral director in the middle will now stand But they may not bow, it just depends on the the traditions and rituals for your area, just ask the funeral director when you meet him/her. If you specifically wish them to bow then you must tell them so. in a line in front of the catafalque where they will respectfully bow to the deceased, the funeral directer will then first of all show the family to their seats, and then direct others to seating around the chapel as the bearers either take their places or exit the chapel.

At this time you should make your way to the lectern, If you need to, you could use this time to compose yourself as you will shortly be taking full control of the ceremony, perhaps have a glass of water if your mouth is dry and pour another glass in case you should need it later. you will have a minute or two to spare as the remainder of the mourners file into the chapel and take their places.

When you see the last of the mourners start to take their places position yourself at the lectern or wherever you intend to stand if you have decided not to use the lectern, Keep in mind though that the signals for the music and the committal are usually controlled from the lectern.

When all the mourners are in the chapel and seated, the usher will close the main doors and signal for the entry music to fade out, the funeral director will usually be seated somewhere at the rear of the chapel and keeping a close eye on the proceedings in case he should be needed.

{Tip} When you have your meeting with the funeral director you can make such arrangements with him that should you decide at any time to temporarily step down from your role, then he will take over from you until such a time that you feel you are able to continue, this is the ideal backup solution and is sure to make things easier for you, we know that if the funeral director noticed that you were really struggling at any point he would offer to help anyway, but it is as well to have a pre-planned verbal agreement in place.

Example 2 - Entering the chapel with all mourners already in the chapel:

Proceed to enter the chapel as described in Example 1, this time of course the procession will be only you as acting officiant, the bearers and the funeral director, as you enter the chapel the usher will signal the start of the entry music.

Walk to the start of the aisle that leads to the catafalque and pause, when the music started playing the congregation may have stood up knowing that the ceremony had started, when you pause at the aisle if the congregation are still seated say "Please Stand" It's not necessary to say it too loudly as it will only need a few people to hear you for it to have a knock on effect. when everyone is standing pause for a further second or two and then continue walking slowly to the catafalque.

When you reach the catafalque If you have the choice of moving to the left or the right, then move to the side where the lectern is positioned. just pause very briefly and then move to either the left or the right to allow the bearers through.

As the bearers place the coffin on the catafalque the funeral director may step forward to assist with lifting the last section as the bearers will have also moved two to either side as the coffin was pushed further onto the catafalque.

The four bearers with the funeral director in the middle will now stand in a line in front of the catafalque where they will respectfully bow to the deceased, the funeral director may also bow courteously to the family before taking a seat at the rear of the chapel, the bearers will either take their places or exit the chapel.

Make your your way to the lectern and prepare to continue with the ceremony.

{Tip} In order to give yourself a bit of breathing space, you can arrange with the usher for the entry music to continue playing to it's natural end or until you signal for it to fade out, if you need to you could use this time to compose yourself, perhaps have a glass of water if your mouth is dry and pour another glass in case you should need it later.

When you are ready to continue signal for the music to fade out and gesture with your hands or say "Please Sit"

Entry Music - Vanessa Mae - A Poets Quest (For A Distant Paradise)
 


Preparing to speak

Presumably your will have read your script out loud several times already whilst practicing and also as you wrote it, you will know how it is structured and which part follows on from another, which means that hopefully you will not be constantly looking down at your script to read from it but using it more as a prompt.

Its not absolutely crucial that you read the script word for word as no one but you knows exactly how it is written or what is written, this means that little mistakes are not going to be noticed by anyone except you, so try not to let mistakes interfere with or break your concentration and continuity, try to relax a little and allow yourself some poetic licence.

If you should make an obvious mistake, for instance when halfway through a poem or a paragraph during the eulogy, just stop, To get your breath and re-compose yourself, have a sip of water, it might help. briefly pause look up Smile slightly if it's appropriate. and say "excuse me, I'll just start that again" and start again from the beginning of the paragraph or the poem.

Remember that what you are doing takes enormous courage and great tenacity and spirit, it is not for the faint-hearted, your audience, the congregation of mourners will be on your side, they will understand your difficult situation and will have nothing but appriciation and admiration for your honourable efforts.

Allow 40 to 45 minutes for this particular service

Script Start

As you might appreciate this is going to be quite difficult There will be people in the congregation who may be wondering where the minister is, (has something awful happened and you are taking his/her place?) Most people when they attend a funeral service expect to see a vicar or priest standing at the lectern so you need to get everyone on your side and to break the ice a little. so I hope you will forgive... and bear with me.... should I happen to falter a little along the way......It's a real honour and privilege for me to be here this morning in front of you all....and I would like to personally thank A-name and K-name for their encouragement and support in allowing me to perform this last task for Name and his family and all his friends who are here this morning.

It's not hard to imagine the shock and horror K-name must have felt....and is still feeling at finding her dad last Tuesday..... but despite it all she had somehow managed to remain focused on the task ahead which was arranging this funeral for her dad.... and I know he would be very proud of her for that.

We really wasn't expecting to see so many people here today and I'm sure Name would have also been surprised too see how many people have turned up to bid him one last farewell.

In fact I was just doing a quick headcount and I'm getting a little worried that there might not be enough sandwiches and sausage rolls If appropriate, a little humour will certainly help to break the ice, although it is quite risky at this early stage of the proceedings especially as in this example this is just the preamble, it's going to depend on the circumstances of the death and how close you were to the deceased and the family, and your gut instinct. If you are not sure then don't do it. to go around for us all later.

Well thank you all for coming.

We are here this morning to pay our last respects and bid a sad but fond farewell to Name, also to honour and pay tribute to his far to short life.....and in our own way to express our love and admiration for him.

We have all been deeply hurt by Name's death....and though he was taken from the bosom of his family and friends far too early.. we will try in the short time we have here this morning to make this occasion a celebration of his life.. and to express our thanks for having known him.

I sincerely hope that at the end of this farewell ceremony for him you will also feel glad that you took the opportunity to do some of your grieving in the presence of others who have known and loved him.

There is no church Minister here this morning.. it's only me.. Well that will clear that up once and for all, and indeed confirm previous suspicions, also it might be worth mentioning who you are, particularly if there is a large section of the congregation that are unlikely to know of you and your relationship with the deceased and or the family. and though I know that most of you will be more familiar with a different form of service.. I hope we can agree that the human values we all share.. are of far more lasting importance than those matters which may divide us in this respect.

Though it was not particularly strong at the time of his death.. Name did have a religious faith.. a faith which stretched back as far as his teen years when he played cornet in the Boy's Brigade, so I would ask you now out of respect for that faith.. lets all say together You will probably have to take the lead with this in order to get congregation started. The Lords Prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

We have come together from different places.. and we are all at different stages on our journey through life.. our paths are varied and we look at life in different ways.
But there is one thing we all have in common.. at one point or another.. and to some degree or other.. our lives have touched the life of name.... and so today we've put aside our usual daily activities for a while and gathered here to give expression to the thoughts and feelings that well up in us at this time of loss... and also because.. in one way or another.. Name's death affects us all.

I'd like to read that great message This is not the original version of this famous reading but it is far easier to read than the original. of hope and comfort which was written by Henry Scott Holland for his wife just before he died... I feel quite sure that Name would have shared the sentiments expressed in the words.

All is well

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Whatever we were to each other, we still are.
Please, call me by my old familiar name.
Speak of me in the same easy way you always did.
Laugh, as we always laughed, at the little jokes we shared together.
Think of me and smile.
Let my name be the household name it always was,
Spoken without the shadow of a ghost in it.
Life means all it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
Death is inevitable, so why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, - for an interval very near.
Nothing is past or lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before,
Only better and happier.
Together forever.
All is well.

A popular Buddhist saying is " what the caterpillar perceives as the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning"....we know that all that has life has it's beginning and its end.
Life exists in the time span between birth and death.. and life's significance lies in the experiences and satisfactions we achieve in that life span.. and though we know that Name had a difficult time for a period due to his mental health problems... this morning I would like to leave that to one side and focus on his earlier life and also his more recent past, as well as the other more positive aspects of his life and his personality.

Name was born in Woolwich London on 22nd Month 1960.. and so began the life of the man that the people gathered here today were proud.. honoured and privileged to call their father.. their grandfather.. their son.. their brother and their friend.

Name was a lot like his father in many respects and had always been a quiet reserved person who never imposed himself upon anybody, but that's not to say that he didn't get on with people, in fact quite the opposite is true, K-name told me how her friends when visiting her would often also call in to see her dad and I know he struck up some new friendships with the people he had met at The Theatre Workshop in Changed Directions, some of whom are here this morning.

One way which was guaranteed to bring Name out of his shell was to join him in a couple of beers, he wasn't what you might call a regular drinker, but given the opportunity, then he could certainly sink a few, you could actually gauge roughly how much he had drunk by how talkative he was and if you couldn't get him to shut up then you knew he was pretty sloshed.

I think he must have started a family trait because we had a similar experience with his son A-name last Saturday night.

Name had a very gentle easy going nature and he very rarely raised his voice, in fact when we were all chatting on Saturday night no one could honestly say that they had ever seen him angry at any time, apart from a couple of occasions when he was at his blackest, when he was ill, and that wasn't really Name anyway so it doesn't count... If he did have a fault it was that he was far too nice.

As far as anyone could recall, Name has hardly ever had much money to his name but we all agreed that if he was flush and you was in trouble he was happy to share it with you.
I know that just recently for instance Name helped A-name with a deposit for his flat which A-name said he flatly refused to accept back, he also helped K-name to furnish her new flat which I know she was grateful for.

Name passed his driving test as soon as he was legally able to and soon after bought himself a 250cc Honda Superdream which was his pride and joy.
Those of us old enough remember well his ritual washing and polishing every Sunday afternoon in the small car park of River House where he lived at the time, unfortunately though misfortune struck and it was stolen, only to be found a couple of days later 60 miles away in Brighton completely stripped and useless.

He never replaced it because the insurance didn't pay out fully, and anyway it wasn't long after that he was married to P-name.
Though she must have been very young at the time, K-name still remembers taking turns with A-name as her dad pushed them round and round their back garden on an old broken moped and making loud revving motorbike noises, much to the amusement of the neighbors.

Name was extreamly musically minded and could competently play several instruments including the cornet and the guitar.
One of his mums proudest memories of Name...and she will tell you about it in quite graphic detail if you ask her...was when he marched with The Boys Brigade band on a remembrance day parade around Forest Hill, smart and handsome in his uniform playing his gleaming cornet.

I don't know where he actually got his musical talent from because apart from his sister T-name I'm told that the rest of the family can't even hum in tune let alone read a musical note.

Much of Name's early life and when the children were young revolved around the Salvation Army.
He trained as a chef in their head office in Judd street Kings Cross and he played cornet in the Salvation Army band, he used to help on the soup run to the down and outs and he was happy to volunteer and help out whenever he could.

In an effort to get a properly paid job to support his family he started bus driving in London and still carried on with his volunteer work.. but when he became ill and he needed their help they abandoned him.. despite everything he had done for them.
Luckily he had a family that cared and first W-name and T-name stepped in to help keep his family together, followed by C-name and J-name who took great pride in their jobs as temporary fathers to the children.

Name had a strange passion for tigers, no one ever quite understood what started it, whether it was a visit to the zoo as child, a TV programme or perhaps something else, but wherever you looked in his flat there was a tiger looking back at you from either a painting or a sculpture or a soft toy.
R-name would be out on one of her day trips to Blackpool or Scarborough and often come back loaded up with tiger associated trinkets and novelties for Name such as tiger jigsaw puzzles or stripey pencils with a tigers head on the end for an eraser, of which he had many.

Name also had a long standing fascination with Egypt and all things Egyptian, one of his big regrets was that he never managed to visit the country despite making plans to on at least two occasions, though he read a lot about it and he had watched numerous videos.
I noticed he also had some Egyptian artefact's and trinkets around his flat but pride of place went to the famous Tutankhamen death mask picture that his dad had painted for him as a birthday present 9 years ago, sadly his dream to visit the country was never fulfilled.

Name didn't have any particular hobbies as such; he led a quiet life and enjoyed the simple pleasures in things such as reading and listening to music or watching his DVDs, his favourite being Stargate which W-name said was the obligatory DVD to watch whenever someone went to visit for a while.

I knew Name enjoyed a game of pool but I was surprised to learn on Saturday that he had a reputation as an extreamly good pool player and K-name, W-name and T-name recalled the time they were all playing pool in the Stone House pub and Name was whizzing around the pool table in his wheelchair hustling everyone.
W-name never elaborated any more than that so I suspect Name had him thrashed.

Name regularly attended Changed Directions in The Theatre Workshop on Yarnley Road where among many other things he had learned the basics of working with a computer, I know he enjoyed that because he would often tell R-name at what stage he was up to and get excited about the next weeks course and what he was going to be learning next.

He was really disappointed when the courses finished, but he did continue learning in his own way at home with K-name's help on his own computer. K-name would often attend Changed Directions with her dad and she told me how he loved going out on the various trips that they organised.

Name wasn't a particularly materialistic person but he did like owning gadgets, anything new that came out on the market then Name wanted to be the first to own it, unfortunately this did get him into trouble a few times, you cant keep a wife and children and get the latest wide screen TV on a salvation army chef or bus drivers wages.

I can clearly remember that once when S-name and I went to visit Name and P-name in their new house in Hartford, he was really excited because cd's had just come out, so of course much to P-name's dismay he had gone out and bought a cd player.

It was really funny because he had this cd which was Michael Jackson's Thriller and he was showing us how you could skip tracks play random tracks and do all the other stuff that we now take for granted, anyway eventually he ejected this cd and gave it to me to have a look at, well! you should have seen the state of it, it was covered in fingerprints and scratches and all kinds of muck, that's alright Name said, that's just where the kids have been playing with it, that's the great thing about these they are virtually indestructible, look he said, and then he started bashing it on the coffee table and throwing it like a frisbee to the kids who were loving it and throwing it back to him.
S-name and I couldn't believe it, and we were even more amazed when Name put it back in the cd player and it played absolutely perfectly....I'm sure they don't make them like that anymore.

Name wasn't always disabled you know.. up until the time when he had the accident in the bus which was the onset of his back problems he had always been a responsible hardworking man.

Actually even a hard working boy because when he was only 13 or so he followed in the footsteps of his older brothers and he was out working for pocket money on evenings and weekends, and in the finest family tradition W-name then followed in his footsteps.

Name, generous as he was even then would often bring presents home for his mum.

W-name told me the story of how they used to occasionally pool some of their pocket money wages in order to buy their mum the complete sets of Ravenhead glasses, obviously they couldn't afford to buy a set at a time so the shopkeeper would open a particular set for them and keep it to one side so that they could buy one or two glasses at a time depending on what they could afford at the time.

I have been told that R-name has still got some of those original glasses which now for obvious reasons are significantly more precious to her than ever before.

Name lived his life to best of his ability and never complained about the misfortunes that seemed to always beset him.

Name recently told A-name how proud he was of him for his achievements and the life he had made for himself, and A-name now has the opportunity to return that gesture when he represents his father and walks his sister Ma-name down the aisle when she marries on Saturday, safe in the knowledge that Name will be with them every step of the way and comforted by the words of his daughter who said of her Grandad - "Angels have taken him and one day they will take us to, so it's not goodbye forever".

Name died suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday the 18th of April....He will be remembered among other things... for his honesty.... his integrity... his compassion... and far and above all else... for his undying love for all of his children.

A flame that burned so brightly was extinguished without so much as a flicker and all we have left is the memory of how brightly it burned.

Lets now spend a few moments in silence, and we can each remember Name in our own special way and those of you that do have a religious faith might like to wait quietly for just a few moments and we will share together a simple prayer for Name and for his family which we hope will bring them, and perhaps the rest of us, some form of comfort and strength in the coming days, weeks and months ahead, as we all adjust to our lives without Name.

Name had a wide appreciation of music and his tastes varied from light classical to heavy rock, he was a particular fan of Meat Loaf so at the end of our prayer we will listen to a track from one of Names favorite Meat Loaf albums, a track that I'm sure name would approve of and by coincidence (almost) is very appropriate at this time.

Short silence followed by: Wait in silence for about 30 to 45 seconds and then start to say the prayer, which you can say on your own or you could ask the members of the congregation that would like to, to repeat it after you, in which case say it line by line allowing time for them to repeat.

Father in heaven,
We thank you because you made us in your own image and gave us gifts in mind, body and spirit.
We thank you now for Name and what he meant to each of us.
As we honour his memory, make us more aware that you are the one from whom comes every perfect gift, including the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Amen

Cue Music Wait for a moment or two after the prayer and then signal for the music to fade up, you don't really want to be standing on the lectern (with everyone looking at you) whilst the music is playing, so find a place at the side where you can sit or stand out of the way, perhaps have a sip of water and prepare yourself for the committal which may be one of your most emotionally difficult tasks as officiant.

 

 

 

 

 

Meat Loaf - Where Angels Sing

End of music

Everyone..... Please stand for the committal When you hear the music coming to it's end make you way back to the lectern. Pause for just a couple of moments before continuing.

As part of the words of committal I would like to include two readings, the first is from the gospels, which is John 14. 1 - 6, 27.

The second is a short poem by A E Housman called England.

Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in god, believe also in me.
In my father's house are many rooms;
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
And you know the way where I am going.
Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?
Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.
Let not you hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

This is by Housman

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills?
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Now is but a moment in time, I dedicate the next few moments to every single precious memory associated with Name.

To everything there is a season, This part of the service (The Committal) should be read or repeated from memory whilst facing the coffin on the catafalque, as you begin to say the words "we commit the body" you should signal for the committal, if you think it might be a bit distracting to signal whilst still reading, then wait until you have finished reading before signalling the committal, at which time the curtains will close around the catafalque or it will descend. and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born.. and a time to die.
Here and now...in this final act... in sorrow but without fear.
In love and appreciation... we commit the body S-name W-name C-name to be cremated

Please sit Pause for just a couple of moments after the coffin has decended or the curtains have closed before saying "Please sit".

Let's remind ourselves Try to change the tone a bit now by being a little more upbeat and resolute, perhaps slightly louder in your address as you atempt to lift the mood a little. that the dead reside not in the grave or an urn but in the hearts and minds of the living.

The separateness, the uniqueness of each human life is the basis of our grief in bereavement.

Look through the whole world and there is no one like name, but he still lives on in our memories.. and though no longer a visible part of our lives.. he still remains a member of our family and of our circle, through the influence he has had on us.. and the special part he played in our lives.

We are coming to the closing of our proceedings here this morning, but just before we leave and to help send us on our way we will listen to some music that both Name and his mum really liked, this is by Andréa Botteli and Sara Brightman and I must admit it is also one of my favourites.. and at this time quite appropriate.

So just before we play Con Te Partirò I would like to thank you all once again for being here today for Name and to invite you all back to The Country House Hotel for refreshments.

If anyone needs a lift just let me know.

Thank you, Time to say goodbye.

Andréa Botteli and Sara Brightman - Time To Say Goodbye


Exit chapel

Whilst the exit music is playing sit or stand to one side, when there is about one and a half to two minutes of music left walk to the front of the catafalque (which will either have curtains around it or there will be a cover over the place it descended).

Stand between four to six feet in front of, and facing the catafalque, bow your head briefly for a second or two before turning to the family and inviting them to leave with a gesture of you arm (after you, type gesture) and saying "its time for us to leave".

Exit the chapel with the family, the funeral director will then direct everyone else to leave whilst you escort the family to the floral tributes.

Some other exit options include:

When there is about two minutes of music left, walk to the front line of seating where the family are sitting and work your way along by briefly shaking hands When anyone thanks you and time is short then just reply with words like "my honour" "my privilege" "it was for Name", don't say words like "your welcome" or "my pleasure". with them, as you shake the hand of the last person say "its time for us to leave now, please follow me as we make our way out".

Exit the chapel with the family, the funeral director will then direct everyone else to leave whilst you escort the family to the floral tributes.

Alternatively:

When the exit music starts playing go immediately to the exit and wait there for the funeral director to invite the family to leave, you can stay at the exit and thank people for their attendance as they leave, or you can exit with the family and escort them to the floral tributes.

Outside the chapel

An area outside the chapel will have been set aside for the floral tributes where they can be viewed by the mourners.

The funeral directors assistants will have already laid these out during the ceremony and any flowers that remained on the coffin during the ceremony will be brought out to join those already there.

{Tip} A nice touch for you to finish off with is to choose some single flowers from the main tributes that you can give to the immediate family as items of remembrance, rose's are ideal, be sure that everyone has had a chance to look at the tributes first and just give one flower each to two or three female family members, you will find that if anyone else wants a flower they will choose their own and help themselves.

Remember, if the flowers are not being donated to a nursing home or hospice etc, within a couple of days they will be destroyed.

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