Christopher Geake

Funeral Celebrant

(Accredited by Humanists UK)

christophergeake.org

introduction

“I wish to say a sincere ‘thank you’ for the way in which you conducted my brother’s funeral ……. You helped to ease the pain on a very sad occasion for us all by the extremely sensitive way in which you delivered the service” (MB : April 2019)

A funeral or memorial ceremony is a significant and sensitive event. It’s an opportunity to bring people together to say “farewell” to a loved one, and to express and share loss and sadness.

But it is also an occasion for acknowledging and celebrating a person’s life, personality, and achievements, and all that the person has meant and continues to mean.

I will work with you to develop a beautiful, dignified, and respectful funeral or memorial ceremony to celebrate the life of the person who has died.

My main interest is Humanist/non-religious ceremonies, but I adopt a flexible approach to incorporating some religious content to reflect the diversity of beliefs and world-view within families.

Areas covered

I conduct funeral and memorial ceremonies across Greater London and the surrounding local authority areas (Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, Surrey).

planning the ceremony

The
Ceremony

About
Christopher

“Once again, many thanks for leading the service for our brother, Xxxx today. You did a marvellous job, and all our family and friends thought so too!”

BS: February 2020

About Christopher

I have many years’ experience of preparing and conducting funeral and memorial ceremonies, and providing both religious and non-religious pastoral support.

In addition, I bring to my pastoral and celebrant work many years professional experience of working with people who have mental health issues, people on the autism spectrum, and people with intellectual impairment (learning disability), and work with their families and carers. I am a “Champion” of the national “Time to Change” campaign, challenging mental health stigma and discrimination.

My personal interests include: music, opera, and ballet; reading novels, biographies, and diaries; walking; international travel; political and social affairs.

Planning the ceremony

If you decide to use my services I shall:

  • meet with you and other close family members and friends of your loved one, as appropriate; through sharing information, listening to your stories, memories, and reflections, and looking at photographs and objects I will build up, as full as possible, a portrait of the person who has died, and what made the person special for you and for those who will be attending the ceremony;
  • discuss with you the ”tone” of the ceremony, and how to achieve the right balance between celebrating your loved one’s achievements and personality, while acknowledging and respecting the loss and sadness;
  • talk through with you ideas for what to include in the ceremony (music, readings, poetry, significant objects or rituals, prayers);
  • discuss who might write and read Tributes or other parts of the ceremony;
  • explain the practicalities around the ceremony, what needs to be done in preparation, and what happens on the day;
  • draft a “script” for the ceremony, and send it to you for correction, revision, and approval;
  • conduct the ceremony with professionalism and sensitivity;
  • prepare a presentation “script” which you may keep as a memorial of the life you have celebrated.

The ceremony

I cannot emphasise enough that my role is to help you put together a ceremony, which reflects the uniqueness of your loved one – but this may be a completely unfamiliar task for you, and I can provide support and suggestions as necessary.

As a general guide, the ceremony is likely to include the following elements, some of which may be in the form of readings or poetry of your choice:

  • opening music;
  • welcome and introduction;
  • tributes;
  • a short period of silent reflection, possibly including some music;
  • final farewell / commendation / committal;
  • closing words;

Being invited to act as a Funeral or Memorial Celebrant is a great privilege, and I would have a total focus on gaining a detailed and clear understanding of your loved one, and developing and presenting a ceremony which truly reflects the diversity and uniqueness of their life.

Planning
ahead

Some people like to plan ahead and prepare their own funeral or memorial ceremonies. I would be happy to work with you if you would like to take this approach.

LGBT+
Communities

I am experienced in working with, and in providing a service for, members of the LGBT+ communities.

HUMANIST /
Non-Religious
Celebrations

I have particular experience working with people who wish to have a Humanist/non-religious funeral or memorial ceremony, and also those who wish to include some religious elements.

Services Provided

The service I provide, preparing and conducting funeral or memorial ceremonies, includes:

  • initial telephone contact;
  • face-to-face planning meeting, at your home or other convenient place;
  • draft texts of the ceremony for correction or amendment;
  • conducting the ceremony;
  • presentation copy of the ceremony;
  • cost of printing ceremony scripts, and transport costs.

Testimonials

Recent Feedback from people who have used my services:

“We as a family, wanted to say thank you for the beautiful service. We felt as the service was very intimate and personal. My grandmother (joining by webcast from Europe) also said it was absolutely beautiful”. (KB March 2021)

“Thank you once again for the time you took to make Xxx’s funeral so special … (and) the caring and sensitive way you conducted the service”. (RC March 2021)

“The family and I would like to express our sincere thanks for the well-organised and expert funeral arrangements made for our father….. We knew this would be a foreboding experience for us all, however, your professionalism shone through, and thankfully made the event a very calm and tranquil experience”. (IC February 2021)

“I wanted to thank you very much for leading (the ceremony) so well. Also for all the effort you put in in the run-up. I found it really quite joyful and everyone I have spoken to has said it went really well”. (Dec 2020)

“On behalf of myself, my mum and ********we would like to thank you for conducting such a lovely service for my dad yesterday……… All of our family commented on how much my dad would’ve thought of the service, and how he would’ve been proud that a fellow Welshman was the celebrant. We are grateful to you for being so professional, empathetic and understanding throughout a difficult time for us. You paid attention to detail and we noticed that on the tv screens at the beginning of the service there was a rugby ball and at the end of the service, a Welsh flag. If that was down to you, thank you. ………… A very thoughtful thing to do” (Dec 2020)

“Just a few words to thank you so much for being the celebrant at my Uncle’s funeral. Everyone thought you were so effective and managed to make the event personal to all. It was difficult for us not to be there but watching (the live webcast) made us feel much better about that”. (Nov 2020)

“Thank you both so much for all your help with my Dad’s funeral. It’s been really appreciated by my mum, my sister and myself. The professional and courteous way in which you have dealt with us all has meant a lot more then you know”. (Nov 2020)

“Thank you for your email and for all of your help and support during this difficult time for our family. You have made an upsetting time much more bearable with your efficiency and professionalism. (Nov 2020)

“I just wanted to say thank you very much for your help with my dad’s service……Everyone in attendance, and watching the stream, commented on how well you spoke, and they were all very pleased that the service captured his character so well”. (Oct 2020)

“You will, I am sure, forgive me for the delay in responding to you concerning the cremation service …. of my beloved (husband).

Firstly, you made everyone welcome in that relaxed Welsh manner and style, and put everyone immediately at ease. I would congratulate you on working so well with XXXX –all present at the service later commenting on how, from the start to the finish,it entirely reflected my husbands personality and life force. The use of the Welsh flag was inspirational. I was determined to find the right person to conduct the service and, as so many have commented, it all seemed as if it was meant to happen that way! Thank you, Christopher. I do sincerely hope that we will meet again”. (Oct 2020)

“Once again, many thanks for leading the service for our brother, Xxxx today. You did a marvellous job, and all our family and friends thought so too!”
(BS : February 2020)

“(We) would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ for the wonderful service you provided us on the loss of our dad. You made it very respectful and sincere and everyone commented on it. Thank you again J…. x”
(JF : September 2019)

“Thank you for all the time you gave to us. Mum said your conversations with her, helping her to focus on the good things about dad’s life, and the happy memories, helped to uplift her, and to deal with the loss a bit better”.
(LF : September 2019)

“I just wanted to say thank you so very much once again for conducting Xxxx’s funeral, especially given some of the German names and words you had to get your tongue around.
The children and I were very pleased with the part you played, especially given the short notice involved. Your knowledge, advice and calm demeanour, and ability to be flexible – accepting our amendments to your text – and adapting to the last minute change of speaker(s) without any fuss, were enormously appreciated. It made the whole thing easier for us to deal with.
I really liked your quote from Muhammed Ali. I had many comments from others present about the good ‘send off’ that Xxxx had been given and how good they had found the approach.
(HP : May 2019)

“I wish to say a sincere ‘thank you’ for the way in which you conducted my brother’s funeral ……. You helped to ease the pain on a very sad occasion for us all by the extremely sensitive way in which you delivered the service”
(MB : April 2019)

“Christopher had to handle a very awkward and difficult family situation relating to the ceremony, which he managed with impressive calm and discretion. Christopher went far above and beyond to help us have a moving and respectful ceremony which truly celebrated my father’s life. Heartfelt thanks to him”
(CP : March 2019)

Copyright ©Christopher Geake 2021