Celebrating the major events of life
This is the general structure of a funeral service for a burial.
1. Entry: People are entering the chapel and settling. The family will generally choose a favourite piece of music to be played, signaling the imminent commencement of the service.
2. Welcome and introduction: As the officiating Celebrant, I will welcome everyone to the service on behalf of the family, and provide a short opening statement that you have helped me to craft.
3. Short reading or poem:You may wish to select a short poem or reading, which can be read by a family member, a friend or by me.
4. Eulogy:The Eulogy is perhaps the centre piece of the service. It is the opportunity to give a short history of the deceased; to share some memories, perhaps some humorous anecdotes, acknowledge their accomplishments and to really celebrate their life.
The eulogy can be written and read by a family member or close friend, and I can provide a template to help you write it if necessary. Alternatively, I can write it for you, following a discussion with you and whoever else you wish, using the template to assemble all of the relevant information.
5. Tribute/s: This is the opportunity for anyone who wishes to, to pay a tribute to the deceased. It can be you, relatives, children and/or grandchildren of the person, friends, work colleagues – the options are really up to you. If you prefer, you can write a tribute and I can read it on your behalf.
6. A poem : A short poem or reading at this point can often give people a little space after what can sometimes be quite emotional readings of the eulogy and tributes. Maybe something reflecting the deceased’s life or interests.
7. Reflection time: I would generally introduce this time as an opportunity for people to reflect upon their relationship with the person whose life we are celebrating. You will either provide to your Funeral Director of choice or someone else who can put an audio visual display together, about 30 or so photographs and another favourite piece or two of music. As people reflect, they will be able to look at the photographs, remember some of the people or events depicted, and listen to the music.
8. RSL Ritual: If your loved one was a returned services veteran, a Returned and Services League (RSL) representative will be pleased to provide the RSL ritual, which honours returned services personnel. Their service history will be read, remembrance poppies will be provided and the Last Post and Rouse played.
9. The service in the chapel will now conclude. As the coffin is moved and people follow it from the chapel, another piece of music is usually played. Again, it’s your choice. Perhaps a piece that has special meaning for everyone, even a football club theme song or another song. The cortege will now proceed to the place of burial where the committal will take place.
10. Committal: This is probably the most difficult part of the service for everyone: It’s where we say a final farewell. I have many different types of committals, and will help you to choose the most appropriate one when we meet. Alternatively, we can write one, if you wish.
It is at the end of the committal that the coffin is lowered into the grave. A final poem may be read at this time.
People may then wish to throw a symbolic pinch of dirt or a flower into the grave as a respectful final gesture.