This year saw the first World Celebrants Week (Woop!) - a chance for professional celebrants everywhere to engage with the public, and each other, and share their enthusiasm for this wonderful role. National Celebrants Day first ran last year, on 20th November, and so #WCW2021 was a natural outgrowth of this. Each day had a theme, such as best advice for couples, or describing your favourite ceremony, and social media was filled with lots of inspiring stories and images.
I was interviewed by Radio Humberside about the week, and the clip is below. As vicars are mentioned, just to clarify, presently a marriage (in England & Wales) is made legal by a faith leader or registrar. Marriage law is being reviewed and fingers crossed independent celebrants will be able to be registered to conduct legally binding ceremonies. So in the meantime, it's a question of popping to the register office for a 10 minute registration of marriage, and then onto the personalised celebrant-led celebration - whether that's a big do or a micro-wedding, at any venue of choice and a time to suit. If the Law Commission recommendations are accepted by the government, it will make things much easier for couples to have the wedding they want, their way. The final report comes out summer 2022 as there have been so many responses to it, and if you feel strongly that people shouldn't be forced to choose between a religious wedding, and a barebones civil service at a register office, then do write to your M.P. and let them know that couples need the choice of a legal marriage conducted by a recognised independent celebrant too - so they can have the personalised ceremony that is most meaningful for them - at a time and place they choose, with the content that is right for them.
Here's to positive change, and more choice!
Finally got to see the piece that was in Funeral Service Journal.
In hindsight, I'd probably change some of what I said, but oh well!
I'm included in April's Funeral Director Monthly magazine, published by the NAFD (one of the main trade bodies for funeral directors).
Here's the screenshot if you'd like to read it.
If you're not familiar with the concept of the Death Cafe movement, the name sounds a bit shocking, doesn't it? A mixture of an often taboo topic, that many avoid talking about, side by side with the place where we feel most happy having a cuppa, cake and an easy chat with friends (or supportive others)?
That's a good summary actually. We are all going to die. We are all going to lose those we love. And yet, in this society we're not so good at talking about it. Death is kept apart from us; medicalised, sanitised, hidden from view, until we have to confront it, when we experience a bereavement or become aware of our own mortality. Fear may mean we do not live our lives as fully.
So, whether you are just curious, have things you'd like to talk through, or ask others about, this is the safe space to do it. It's not a counselling session; just a supportive discussion. There is no agenda, intentionally. Each Death Cafe is different. Each is limited to small numbers of between 3-12 so no one feels either self-conscious, or a face in the crowd.
Taking about death can give you reassurance in life.
We are all 'deathlings' after all. Death is part of life.
Death Cafe comes to Cleethorpes in May 2021 as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week on Monday 10th May at 7pm. #DMAW21 #InAGoodPlace
Get in touch if you'd like your name adding to the attendees (or waiting list), and I'll send joining details closer to the date, and check you can still come.
I'm hoping to set up a face-to-face Death Cafe in the near future too in a nice little cafe.
This one is for members of the public, not for EoL or funeral sector professionals.
If you are one of these and wish to collaborate on future projects, get in touch.
Separate from this, with a more structured discussion (so beyond the remit for a Death cafe), I'll also be listing later when/where I'm giving a 'Dead Good Talk' or workshop where you can 'Think Outside the Box'. Watch this space!
Click below for details of this Death Cafe:
Click here to find out about the Death Cafe movement and principles:
Click here for information on Dying Matters:
Breeze Memorial Services held a special week in the run-up to Christmas 2020, with contributions from established celebrants offering a poem, song, or some comforting thoughts. All of the videos can be found on the Facebook page, along with this - a short winter consolation I wrote for the solstice.
As I go about my work as a celebrant, my musings on life, love and the universe will appear here, as well as links to media appearances.