Q F and P 10.27.
Are there not different states, different degrees, different growths, different places?…..Therefore, watch every one to feel and know his own place and service in the body, and to be sensible to the gifts, places and services of others, that the Lord may be honoured in all, and every one owned and honoured in the Lord and no otherwise.
Isaac Penington 1667
The task of Funeral Adviser may be one of the roles within our meeting that is less well known. Our local Nominations Committee discern a name or names when needed, and the role is then an appointment of Area Meeting.
So what is a Funeral Adviser asked to do?
First and foremost is the care of any bereaved person or family in the Meeting who seeks our help. This of course is also something many in the meeting may offer, but the Funeral Adviser has a particular role in helping to spend time with the bereaved in thinking about the funeral or Memorial Meeting arrangements, and then, if wanted, to work with Elders with Oversight towards the holding of the funeral or Memorial Meeting in the manner of Friends.
There may be a need to liaise with Funeral Directors and with Crematoria, and of course we have our own Quaker Burial Grounds where links will be with the Custodian of those sites.One of the Funeral Advisers will generally conduct the ceremony at the Crematorium or Burial Ground. Those who have performed this service experience it as a great privilege.Quite often there will be those attending a Quaker funeral who are not familiar with our processes, so there is also a role in explaining these and helping all present to feel comfortable and able to take part.
During this current lockdown period Funeral Advisers from all the Meetings in the Bristol Area have been meeting regularly on Zoom to support each other and share information about current guidance. This has been a strengthening experience for us all, as we are encouraged to call on the counsel and help of our fellow Advisers, and of course can contact Friends House if particular information or advice is needed.
There are currently three Advisers at Redland, but we are seeking another one to strengthen the team. We do not know when we may be needed, but we need Friends to be ready to respond. If this short piece prompts you to know more please do contact one of us to get more information.
There is good material available to help in carrying out this role. In the task description there are three characteristics which are considered desirable. They are sensitivity, diplomacy and tact.
Roger Sturge, Mel Macintosh and Sue Tuckwell
Current Funeral Advisers at Redland