What is a Certified Funeral Celebrant?

If you find yourself asking this question, you are not alone. Certified Funeral Celebrants are a fairly new concept to the entire country.

If you find yourself asking this question, you are not alone. 

Certified Funeral Celebrants are a fairly new concept to the entire country. It began in Australia, where cremation is a common form of disposition, and ceremony regarding a death is a big part of every funeral. A viewing, service, story and scheduled lunch is expected to celebrate every person’s life.

This idea was discovered and brought to America by Doug Manning. Doug was a pastor for 37 years, and was raised in a highly religious southern family. He was not looking for an alternative to clergy involvement at funerals, but instead a complement to the religious funeral traditions that many have become accustomed to. 

He saw that the clergy person has a duty to follow these funeral rituals, in part because of their dedication to their religious beliefs, but also because they provide a source of comfort to the families and friends or those who have died. This leaves the clergy person precious little time and resources to be spent on telling the story of the person who died.

Enter the Certified Funeral Celebrant. 

This person works with the family in order to learn the story of their loved one.  They ask questions about their favorite hobbies, sports, education, and relationships with family and friends, among many others things. This allows the celebrant to focus on telling the life story of the deceased. While many funeral directors are Certified Funeral Celebrants, it is unlikely that your funeral director will be able to perform both functions. 

Like the clergy person, the funeral director is overloaded with many other responsibilities and can not accept the precious task of translating a person’s life into a meaningful story to present at the funeral.

Please ask you funeral director for more information if this type of enhancement is right for you and your family.  


By, Kelly Keddie, L.F.D. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Roger December 28, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Kelly, you may be addressing a need, but a Christian pastor would probably not work well with you. It appears your focus is on what has happened in terms of the temporal life. As a Christian, what I did here is mostly irrelevant. Far more important is the life to come, fulfillment of sure hope, and recognizing that transition out of the earthly tent to a far better one. I think your appeal is to a new audience of "celebrating the life" of the deceased. This recent phrase has been used far more to recognize the earthly achievements. I'm sorry, but for the Christian, "celebration of life" is not about the life just lived, rather the life that is now being lived with their Lord. The phrase has been hijacked by those who didn't know any better. Hearing the phrase, they took it upon themselves to frame the celebration of the past. The Christian use of the phrase is only to do with the new life. I've heard feedback from those who have been to "celebration of life" of a deceased non-believer. After the phony laughs and back-slapping, the end is nothing but disappointment and discouragement. Why? Because it was hollow, filled with nothing but earthly accolades. In the end, everybody faces reality that there is no hope for the deceased. "Celebration of life" is only about the sure hope the Christian embraces. People may wish to paint it another color, but the veneer is thin. Hope based upon wishful thinking is sure to disappoint.
Axelle Axelle October 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM
^^^ This comment is very important. I thought about getting involved with this profession, but as a born again Christian, what do you say to the family when their diceased was an unbeliever, and therefore headed for hell potentially? I say "potentially" because we never really know all the quiet moments of a human..


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