The IoCF is a not-for-profit organisation, registered as a company limited by guarantee at Companies House with institute status which provides support and representation for our members.
Although some of our members also deliver wedding celebrations, baby namings and a host of other celebrations of life, we focus purely on funeral ceremonies because we believe it is vital that this final rite of passage for a loved one is delivered to the highest standards possible.
Snippets from the lectern
The IoCF thought it would be a nice idea to show you some of the lovely things our celebrants have done during some of their services.
One of our celebrants had these lovely stories to share:
"A family consisting of a brother and sister – mid-thirties, both living abroad were home to oversee the funeral of their father. They asked if they could put his RAF uniform on the coffin as he loved aircraft – always talking about them and knew everything. When I asked them, they said he had been a Junior Training Officer but had left the service when they were young. I took the artifacts, was bemused by what I saw and went off to investigate. Result was I was able to tell them that their father was not a ‘Junior Training Officer’ but had in fact been a senior ranking Jet Tornado Pilot with an elite squadron! It was quite an emotional moment all round – they had no idea.
"At another military funeral I did for a relatively young (early 70’s) ex Fireman at an MoD base; he had served with the military and been in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles. We gave him the appropriate military send off and I went to collect his medals from the coffin to give his family. It was the first time I had seen them and I did a double take! I asked his wife to confirm they were her husbands which she did, I then asked if she knew what they were. ‘No – they were kept in a drawer’. I was able to inform her and his son that he was the holder of the third highest award for gallantry – the Military Medal and that any memorial to him they were to put MM after his name. The pride in their eyes did bring tears to mine.
"I had a gentleman who lost his wife – late 40’s and we were discussing her service. One thing that came out was that his wife was known for her talking, couldn’t keep quiet for more than 20 seconds, so we agreed a plan. After the committal, I called for 2 minutes reflective silence and hush descended. After about 20 seconds I got up and in a load voice said: “This is silly – what are we doing?” The look of horror on everyone’s face was fantastic. I then said: “*** couldn’t keep her mouth shut for more than 20 seconds so 2 minutes of silence isn’t exactly reflecting her is it!” Everyone burst out laughing and we got on with a planned verse and music. Outside afterwards – everyone said how they thought it was a great twist and how much they enjoyed it.
It’s moments like that that make it all worthwhile."
‘One of our celebrants …
‘... had a call from a woman asking if she and her husband could talk through what they'd like for their funerals. They'd found me on the Institute website (hurrah!).
I offered to see them for an hour for no charge and cycled out to their house. They were both in their mid 70s and seemed in good health. Previously they had attended an evangelical church but they had clearly lost trust and confidence in any church or belief - this was something we didn't go into as it wasn’t relevant to our discussion. They didn’t know where to turn to in thinking about and preparing for their deaths. Their mature, highly qualified, children didn't want to talk with them about their funerals.
It was a very interesting, intellectual, chat. Amongst many things I explained to them that, if they chose to have a civil funeral ceremony, they could have anything they wanted. We discussed all the implications of such freedom and considered several possibilities.
I suggested that it might be better not to pre-write every word to be said or make every decision about music or readings or other content because the people who end up arranging their ceremonies might want to have a say in it too. Based on my own experience of working with a close friend on her ceremony before she died, that seems the fairest approach to planning your own funeral content, although others may have other ideas.
They seemed to accept that suggestion and we parted on very good terms – they were disappointed that they couldn’t pre-book me!’
Not only are our celebrants highly trained they have a real passion for their work and go above and beyond just providing a funeral service.
Please do ask your celebrant if there is anything you want for a loved ones' funeral but feel it would not be the 'done thing'. You never know what kind of wonderful service you could have if you dont ask.
Who we work with
We share your professionalism, ideals and standards in everything we do. Add value to your service and find out why an IoCF member is the celebrant of choice.