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The importance of celebrants to funeral service has seemed like a "no-brainer" to me since I first heard of them, but hearing Doug Manning and Glenda Stansbury of the In-Sight Institute talk about their experiences in leading family storytelling times and planning meaningful services for families really brings it home.
Their celebrant training is a major part of ICCFA University's College of the 21st Century Services going on this week in Memphis, Tennessee, and after sitting in on their class for just an hour, I don't know why every funeral home and cemetery in the country doesn't have someone here. Want to offer services that will help families heal and that they will value and be willing to pay for? Send your staff for celebrant training, or find a trained celebrant in your community to work with your organization.
This morning Manning talked about how much he enjoys working with families for family story-telling times and how much they mean to people, and how to work with different types of people. Families don't have to be like the Waltons (and funeral directors know that many families aren't) for this to happen, he said. You can help families who are angry or divided go through this healing process. Even in the case of a man who had been a hard-core felon, "his mama loved him," he said, and had the need to share her feelings.
"It takes a family to grieve a loss," Manning said.
Click on any photo to see more photos from ICCFAU 2010 classes.