Monday, 16 September 2013

UK Society of Celebrants Newsletter - September 2013

Welcome to your UK Society of Celebrant Newsletter
Well, autumn seems to have arrived now and judging by the amount of naming ceremonies you guys are officiating at the moment, it seems many of your clients were very busy this time last year (say no more!) We are a few days early this month due to training commitments. Once again, we have had lots of positive feedback for our NEW Celebrant Training Courses and our Membership is continuing to grow above all expectations. This would not be possible without the dedication and professionalism shown by all our Members and Celebrant Training Team alike – Thank You!

Celebrant Training
Due to the continued popularity of our Distance Learning Celebrant Training Courses, we have now withdrawn the Personal Tuition Celebrant Training Course. Personal Tuition Celebrant Training will continue to be available ONLY to new Franchise applicants. Additionally, our Traditional Group Training Courses from January 2014 will not only be held in Lincoln but also held in Birmingham, Bolton, Brighton, Bristol, Degenham & York on an ad hoc basis. This is being done to reduce the necessity of Trainee Celebrants traveling such long distances to attend courses.  Your comments regarding the provision of Celebrant Training are always welcome.

Celebrant Tales
Many thanks for all the entries to our “Celebrant Tale” competition. Igor Pavlov from Thurrock is the winner for August 2013 and he has already received his £25 Amazon voucher for the following tale. Thanks Igor.

I recently had the honour of being the Funeral Celebrant for Steve who was 48 year old London born "PuNk" who died well before his time in a tragic road traffic accident. Steves family decided to have a themed funeral ceremony at the local crematorium. The theme was "Just PuNk" where, yes, you guessed it, everyone had to dress as a punk including me. I was asked to dress like "Sid Snot" made famous by Kenny Everett  (Steve's fave comedian) and was asked to try to toss cigarettes in my mouth during the ceremony, just like "Sid", I complied & I caught a few too.

The family chose several pieces of music from the back catalogue of "The Clash" (Steve's fave band) to be played during the ceremony. Every mourner abided by the theme and even the Crematorium and Funeral Director staff wore safety pins on their lapels as a tribute. Steve arrived on the back of a battered pickup truck which had appropriate pUnK graffitti painted all over it & the coffin was festooned with "Clash" memorabilia from his fellow pUnk friends. Steve was carried in to the crematorium by three of his closest friends & his older brother "Ray". The ceremony itself was very musical, colourful, even uplifting and obviously tearful until we said our final goodbye. I had arranged my cue with the crematorium staff to play the final piece of music when I had completed my final words. Literally 1 second before I gave my cue, a mobile phone started to ring (apparently Ray's) - Aghast, I was at this time looking towards those assembled, seeing the look of utter disgust on their faces, turn to smiles followed by haughty laughter. Ray, red faced, was fumbling in his pockets to turn the phone off - I signaled to him not to do it, whilst trying to toss a couple of cigarettes in my mouth. Ray held his phone aloft. I also failed to give my cue to the crematorium staff until the phone stopped ringing (about a minute later) as everyone was starting to leave the crematorium chapel - smiling, laughing and holding back the tears. Why?

Ray's ringtone was "London Calling" - possibly the most iconic Clash track, which was also the choice of the family for the final piece of music at Steve's funeral. In the circumstances I hoped it was apt to let Ray's phone continue ringing and thankfully, Steve's family agreed. A fitting Tribute to my brother "An Irreverent London PuNk" - according to an embarrassed and equally irreverent Ray!
(This account was written with the kind permission of  Ray & Steve's family - all names have been changed to protect the innocent)
Thanks Igor , I think some might say that "London Calling" is the most iconic track of a generation! Anyone wishing to submit their “Celebrant Tale” for next month’s newsletter must do so by or on 15th October 2013. A £25 Amazon Voucher will be awarded to the winning Celebrant.

Developments - Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself
Here at UKSoC we go to considerable lengths, as many of you know, to achieve and maintain a credible on-line presence. This practice is not only for the benefit of UKSoC but also its Members, by helping them become more visible and accessible on-line. So, help us to help you to help yourself. Just "10" minutes, every week at your computer clicking buttons (see below) on your mouse can give you an edge on your competition.

Member Resources - this has finally gone live - UKSoC Members should by now have received their usernames, passwords and access details (go to UKSoC and click LOGIN ) This resource will continually be updated. Should you wish to add to this resource, you can do so my mailing All entries will be credited to the contributor with links to their UKSoC Profiles, personal websites, blogs & social media as required. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.

Celebrant Blogs - by visiting UKSoC and clicking "Blog" (top right) you can access all UKSoC blogs. Click on them and follow if they are of interest to you. We follow all our members blogs and re-post, tweet, like & g+ for improved exposure. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.

Twitter - Some of you may have noticed that we have a new daily e-publication called "Celebrant Tales" which is released through our twitter account @UKSoC. Please take a look and subscribe if it is of interest to you and follow us & retweet on twitter if you have not already done so. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.

Facebook - Don't forget to like our fan page on Facebook too. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.

Profile Pages - All UKSoC Members have a profile page. Some of you have your own websites. Those with / without a website can now have a THREE page site within UKSoC's site for FREE. Just talk with your Mentor, send us your editorial content & requirements & consider it done. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.
Thanks for reading this far. That’s it for this month.
Until Next Time. Be Well.

James Convery

Saturday, 14 September 2013

An Insiders Guide to Celebrant Training

Celebrant Training - An Insiders Guide
Almost all of us have been to a naming ceremony, wedding ceremony or funeral ceremony officiated by either a registrar or a religious minister. These ceremonies are almost guaranteed to follow a rigid formula and apart from change of names, each type of ceremony is identical to the last, similar to "painting by numbers".

Society is changing, in that there are a welcome  plethora of cultural influences in our lives. At the last UK Census 63% of us said we never take part in any formal religious practice. So, why include religion in any of our life event ceremonies?

Many of us are now turning to the alternative of Secular Civil Celebrants, who will consult with you to produce a truly bespoke ceremony and signpost many special elements that you can include in your special ceremonies.

Where are these Civil Celebrants? They are here now, ready to provide a personal, meaningful and tailor made service.

There are now a number of organisations within the UK that provide training for existing and prospective celebrants, some are good, some are OK, most are not so good - we know because we have tried them.

Most of the available Celebrant Training Courses are residential courses of 2-4 days duration, with limited (if any) ongoing support and in groups of up to 20 people with just 1 tutor. Ask yourself this - Do you think that a man or woman off the street can become a competent celebrant in such a short period of time? A competent celebrant works on a single ceremony for 10 to 12 hours until they and their client are happy with the outcome. How many ceremonies do you think students on such courses complete? 1, maybe 2?

These courses, in essence provide candidates with a basic toolkit and basic instruction on how to use those tools. Would you trust someone who comes to your home to fix the plumbing who has a nice shiny toolbox but only has had 4 days training? Would you? This approach does not necessarily build client confidence.

Having utilised  such courses in the past, we have developed another far more comprehensive celebrant training package for a similar if not lower cost. How?

On-Line Celebrant Training
Although we offer traditional group training courses as well as personal tuition courses - these are mostly utilised for our franchisees and they account for less than 17% of the training we deliver. The remaining 83%+ of the celebrant training courses we deliver are via on-line / distance learning courses, which puts the student in control of when they study and how much study they do - all in the comfort of their own home / office. All the student needs is basic computer skills; an electricity supply, a smartphone/tablet/laptop/pc with internet connectivity (WiFi,3g or 4g), email facility, webcam, mic & a VOIP function i.e. Skype.

Our distance learning courses have all been designed to reflect the real world as far as possible. You will not only receive all the tools and resources that you require to be a celebrant, you will also conduct several live client interviews / fact-finds, prepare first and final draft scripts followed by you giving live ceremony presentations. You will be working on several ceremonies at the same time too, which  reflects real life. At each and every stage you will receive feedback / agreed action plans from your designated Tutor. Furthermore, you will receive proactive ongoing mentor support in relation to marketing your services as well as continued access to resources.

Although we are ostensibly a secular organisation, many of our celebrants come from various faith backgrounds. They chose to train with us due to our ever growing inter-faith / multicultural society; our "dogma free" secular ethos; our bespoke, non-prescriptive, personal, meaningful and professional approach to ceremonies.

For all our Training Options, Course Choices & Course Outlines visit us at the UK Society of Celebrants for the UK's premiere On-line Celebrant Training. Or Call / Text 07784 301070 for an informal chat or drop me a line here.