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Understanding a civil (that is non-religious) service

A funeral service generally runs for between 30 and 45 minutes.

The customary format is -

  • Introduction and Music
  • Reading
  • Eulogy or biography
  • Prayer or reflection
  • Reading
  • DVD video presentation
  • Committal
  • Music

The eulogy can be prepared and read by me as the Celebrant, or by a member of the family. It is quite acceptable to include religious elements even though deceased might not have been a believer.

During the reflection often friends and family come forward and tell of their own personal experiences and memories of the deceased. That is a time when friends and family may lay flowers on the casket, write messages on it or other forms of remembrance

The Committal may be in the chapel (for a cremation) or at the gravesite. If the deceased is an ex-serviceman the RSL Burial Ritual is generally used as the Committal.

The eulogy is the most important part of the service. If I present the eulogy I visit the family in their home to gather the background information required. This can cover

  • Deceased's nickname
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace and names of parents and siblings
  • Early life and schooling
  • Qualifications and work history
  • Marriage and children and grandchildren
  • Family life
  • Personality, characteristic sayings or humour
  • Community service and achievements
  • Hobbies and pets
  • Music, entertainment, and sporting interests
  • Last days before death

he deceased's favourite music is generally played when entering the chapel, during the reflection and on leaving.

What about Religion?

The funerals I conduct are civil (that is non-religious), but may reflect the degree of spirituality that is meaningful to the family, offering comfort, support and a sense of hope.

However this means that you as the client can use any words or readings, religious or not, to best express and celebrate the bereaved's life through this ceremony. This includes involving other people such as family members, maybe a pastor, and friends. It will also involve music specially selected for the ceremony as well.

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