Have you thought about becoming a funeral celebrant and then realised that a one or two day course will not give you the depth of skills you require to create a ceremony that will live on in the hearts and minds of those who attend?
Perhaps you have done your Certificate IV in Celebrancy and are interested in pursuing working as a funeral celebrant but feel your knowledge and skills to create a meaningful farewell are not adequate to make you feel confident to be called on regularly by funeral directors?
You are already working as a funeral celebrant and feel you would like to enhance your ceremonies, re-energise your love for the profession or just need a fresh approach to ceremony writing?
If you choose to become a professional and successful funeral celebrant, it is important to remember it can be demanding, emotional, sometimes just plain hard, but it is also one of the most rewarding and fulfilling roles you can imagine!
All participants that have been trained by Silver Celebrant Training, have said they would recommend the course to others, whether experienced celebrants, or new to the industry. This is what popular wedding celebrant Shan Jeans had to say:
After having enrolled into Robyn O’Connell’s Funeral Celebrant Training course with an open mind and little or no expectation, I was absolutely blown away with the informative content and how it was so genuinely and freely conveyed. Robyn’s course was the most well-rounded, balanced, practical and relevant education I’ve ever experienced, and it was delivered with such confidence, knowledge and compassion. Never before have I walked away from a course feeling so fully equipped and ready to actually put education into practice. Thank you Robyn for not only the invaluable education you so willingly provided, but for a week I’ll never forget.
The 2019 courses are: March 23-28, June 22-27, September 14-19
NB: If you want a particular date, you’d better get in soon, some courses are already half full! $250 will secure your place. A waiting list will be made, because sometimes life can just get in the way !
Many people wanting to become a funeral celebrant have said that one of the things they are most apprehensive about is how to write a funeral service that commemorates someone’s life in a way their family would love. There is only one chance to deliver a service that honours the life of someone, there is no second chance to get it right. When you deliver a funeral, you are representing the funeral director and by delivering a memorable service, you will have them calling you on a regular basis. One of the participants from 2015 has almost done 1,000 funerals and is regarded as one of the top celebrants in her state. Another had already done that many, but said he would never do them the same way again after completing this course.
With a six day, total immersion course, you will experience and gain the following skills:
- Ceremony writing
What makes a ceremony engaging and one that people walk away saying “I know I shouldn’t say this, but I really enjoyed that funeral?” While this is not a creative writing class, we look at the aspects of what can make a good ceremony great.
- An understanding of grief, loss and trauma
Understanding grief is such an essential element in conducting funerals and sadly most celebrants only rely on their own experience, so when you are faced with difficult situations, this becomes more challenging. In this course we look the important elements that we need to be aware of when working with bereaved families.
- Listening skills
Everyone likes to think they are a good listener, but are you really? Do you really listen? How do you know you really listen? This is often the session that gets the most laughs!
- Ceremony structure and protocols
Understanding how a ceremony works, from start to finish ensures a smooth and seamless service. We look at the structure of a chapel service and committal, a walk to hearse from a chapel as well as a graveside and burial service.
- Simulated family interview (with professional actors)
It’s all very well learning in theory what it would be like to interview a family, but we really do this! Each participant gets to do some of the family interview and then get to watch others how they do it, this is the one area that celebrants do not like to allow people to shadow, because it is about developing a relationship with the bereaved in the very first instance. Even the mentors have a go at doing this (and you should see the dilemma they are often faced with), it is all about experiential learning.
- Public speaking
The greatest fear next to death is public speaking, being able to speak in public does not necessarily equip you to address an audience of bereaved people! Sure it goes a long way to making you feel confident but being able to present in a warm engaging manner is a little different to giving a speech at a family celebration.
- Understanding the balance of loss and celebration of life
In this session we look at the importance of not only celebrating life but also of acknowledging loss and how, in our words, we (as celebrants) can make a difference in our families’ grief journeys.
- Writing a good life story
What is involved in writing a really good life story? How do you make a life story interesting and engaging regardless of its length?
- Poetry, music and the ability to gather resources
There is lots of good stuff out there, but…..what is it? Where is it most appropriately used for best effect? We look at the use of poetry, music and search out where to find things you’ve probably never heard of, but will make you stand out as being different.
- Difficult/different funerals
Sadly not everyone dies after having lived a long and fulfilled life, so we look at the different aspects associated with funerals of babies, children, car accidents, those that choose to take their own lives (with some very interesting statistics), as well as disability funerals and those outside what we would call ‘the norm’.
- Presentation and videoing of your written funeral service
And then the time comes to present your written funeral! While all participants write for the same person, it is amazing to see the different styles and approaches to the same information. It is fascinating with many comments of “wow, I didn’t think about doing it that way” etc. What is great about this, is that your first (or 500th) funeral presentation is to a group of people, who have by now become friends in a supportive environment. There is feedback given from others, trainer and mentor. A video of your service will be provided as soon as possible after completion of the course.
- Looking after yourself
As a funeral celebrant, self care is normally very low on the agenda, yet it is imperative to your longevity as a funeral celebrant. We will look at how to look after yourself with ideas and strategies galore.
- A full tour of a cemetery and crematorium
This is your opportunity to ask all those questions you’ve really wanted to ask, but never known who to ask about it!
- What would you do if?
This is the session where Robyn bares her soul and talks about all the mistakes she has made and poses the question – ‘what would you do if…….’ Brainstorming and discussions are usually robust and lively, but what better way to learn than through someone else’s mistakes rather than making them yourself?
- Marketing and small business
So great, you’ve learnt heaps, but how do you go about marketing yourself? Robyn is the first to admit this is not one of her strengths, so she calls in an expert – David Schneider, a marketing guru, who is a well known, professional wedding celebrant, but who also does a few funerals here and there. On the last day, when everyone feels almost brain dead and they can’t absorb one more thing, David comes in and reinvigorates the enthusiasm, as well as giving priceless information about getting started.
- Funeral for the course
Funerals are all about saying goodbye and come 3.30pm on Thursday, we get together for what else? A ceremony of course? It’s short and sweet, but unforgettable. Then the group of strangers who arrived on Saturday, hug their new found friends goodbye, to travel back to homes and families across the country, with the common cry of “I can’t believe we’ve been here for six days….. bet I’ve put on a couple of kilos!”
From your trainer Robyn O’Connell
Unlike some trainers, I work in the industry full time as a funeral celebrant, so I know what it is like. I have written over 2,000 services and I am still as passionate and dedicated as when I first started in 2002. I want those who are interested in learning to fully understand and be capable of creating a ceremony that will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone who attends.
I have written this training course from start to finish, so that you will have a complete understanding of how to work as a funeral celebrant. Jane Ormonde (May 2014), a trainer herself, said it was the first course she has ever done where, on completion of the course, she actually felt capable of doing what she had been trained to do.
The satisfaction of receiving a phone call, letter, card of thanks, goes beyond words. A good funeral celebrant can make a difference in people’s lives that will, quite literally, never be forgotten.
Add to this I offer ongoing mentoring (for as long as I’m around lol), a Facebook forum for graduates to support each other, as well as the opportunity of creating a good supportive network in what can be an isolated role.
What is a mentor and what do they do?
Having done the course themselves, mentors are invited back to be there as a listening ear, a helpful guide and, if Robyn isn’t available, they are your next port of call if you need help. They have from 100 to 3,000 funerals behind them, some who had never done a funeral before, others are wedding celebrants who decided to invest in good training in funerals. They are there to support you and give freely of their time to do so. Oh, and they love coming back for the food and the slices!
Delma Carpenter, even though Delma only graduated in May 2017, she has absolutely blitzed the small area she lives in and goes to prove if you are determined to succeed you will! She did close to 75 funerals in her first year! So still very much in the ‘newer’ category, Delma defied all odds to now be an ‘in demand’ celebrant – I might add, she had never done anything like this before! So for those completely new to celebrancy – she has walked your walk!
Kevin Clune a 2012 graduate was a successful funeral celebrant before completing the course, however he felt it lifted him to the next level and now he is one of the top (if not the top) male funeral celebrants in Perth. Kevin mentored the May courses in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Participants have all said how much they have benefitted from his immense amount from his experience.
Suzie Venn a graduate from 2015 was determined to be the best and on enrolling said “I will make you proud”. Having now conducted 600+ funerals, recently Suzie was told by two different funeral directors that she is now thought of as the top female celebrant in Brisbane, her busy schedule certainly reflects that and yes I am proud! Suzie mentored the September 2017 course and I’m hoping she’ll be back next year.
Another graduate of 2012, Elaine Herrick, was Allison Monkhouse’s in house celebrant, a much-coveted role and after working as a celebrant again she has returned to Allison Monkhouse as their pre-paids and events specialist. Elaine mentored the August 2014 course attendees and gave a real insight into the internal workings of a funeral company. If she can, Elaine joins us for dinner a couple of nights and is often there to support and help participants with preparations for their presentations on Tuesday night for Wednesday.
So how much is your investment in your future?
For all accommodation, meals (except one night when we are out) and tuition, the cost is $2,750 (incl. GST), which for most celebrants, is the income from five or six funerals, depending where you live as each state earns different amounts. There is an early bird discount of $250 if the course is paid for six weeks in advance. Speak to your accountant, because if you have already established your celebrancy practice, this will be considered professional development, therefore a tax deductible expense.
For those coming from interstate, pick up and drop off to Melbourne airport is included. If you want to fly in on Friday, we will cover the cost of your accommodation at the venue that night. Local attendees are also welcome to stay on the Friday night if they prefer.
It is important to note that even if you live locally, once completed, you will understand why it was so imperative that you live in.
If you wish to have the three recognised units certified there is an additional cost of $250 paid directly to the RTO. This will be discussed at the end of the course.
With the group strictly limited to a maximum of 9 participants, courses are held at Chestnut Hill Conference Lodge a beautiful and serene setting in the Dandenongs.
This course may challenge you, however it will also teach you skills that can be applied to every part of your life. As recent graduate Lemise Kassim said, “it was personal development on steroids!”
I feel confident that it will help you discover more about yourself and your capabilities.
Please give me a call on 0425 726 246 to chat further about it or leave me a message on here (occasionally you may get an error message, but I always receive it, we just can’t find the bug!)