(also Funeral Short Course)
Personal and secular (humanist) funerals are a serious responsibility
Home they brought her warrior dead;
She nor swoon’d nor utter’d cry.
All her maidens, watching, said,
She must weep or she will die.
The Princess by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
There a few resentments more intense that those which result from a badly done funeral ceremony. The memory leaves a residue of anger that can last many years, in some cases – a lifetime. Sadnesses are multiplied, grief is exacerbated.
On the other hand, as good funeral celebrants often testify, there is no task more satisfying than consoling people in deep grief. The gratitude of the survivors flows over one.
It has always been a source of wonder to the writer that totally unqualified people think they can do this fearfully responsible work without training – thus making horrendous mistakes – as they start from scratch on their journey of “victim based” learning.
As Brian McInerney, the renowned funeral celebrant, would often say – “This is the best work we do.” This Module aims to assist you to do you best work.
On completing this unit, you should be able to:-
- write a competent eulogy and to construct an appropriate ceremonial framework into which it may be placed.
- understand the basic standard which the college and reputable celebrant organisations expect for funerals.
- have an in-depth knowledge of how to interview and actively listen, take notes, creatively write and carefully check the eulogy and ceremony.
- have an adequate knowledge of the literature (especially poetry) and music frequently required for funerals.
- understand in a refined way the “grief process” and its relevance to funeral celebrancy.
- know the main historical events which have affected peoples lives and the values they inherited, e.g the World Wars, the Great Depression, the post-World War II reconstruction period, the Vietnam and Korean wars and similar.
- be able to link such events (including local history) to an account of an individual’s life.
- be aware of the cultural and personal needs of the bereaved, with a general knowledge of funeral practices of different groups in our society,
- know about the classic, eulogies and ceremonies.
- have a general knowledge of the workings of the Funeral Industry with which you must work – and the laws, conventions and practices to which it is subject.
- Apply the principles which apply to funeral services, to Memorial Services, Scattering of Ashes and similar.
Assessment tasks are on the last few pages of the module manual. All assessment tasks are carefully read, critiqued and assessed by our Dean of Studies, Dr Chris Watson.
Assessment is by the following methods:
– a diary relating your studies to the world in which you live, includes compulsory research and writing tasks where necessary.
– on selected written material provided with the module manual, books, DVDs and website links.
1. – a structured analysis of 3 different funeral ceremonies presented by different celebrants
2. a structured interview with a funeral celebrant.
Workload and Due Dates
The time envisioned for working on each unit is equivalent to 10 weeks at 8 hours per week. The College has not set dates for submission of individual items. However, unless special permission to extend is granted, this module is to be completed within 6 months. Temporary suspensions of enrolment are negotiable, however fees for modules which have not been completed are not refundable.
Readings, Questions and Assignments
All manuals and DVDs are provided, including “Ceremonies and Celebrations” if not previously provided, and will be made available immediately, once the College receives full payment for the module. If the module manuals, books, DVDs and other items are downloaded from our website a discount will apply. Otherwise the items will be sent by post, airmail where necessary.
Transferring any material belonging to the College to a third party without prior permission is unethical and strictly forbidden.
Correspondence on administrative matters, including enrolments, are to be directed to the Registrar of Diplomas, Deborah Roffey.
And if on matters concerning the module, enquiries are to be directed to the Dean of Studies, Dr Chris Watson.