In honour of Marian Barnes, pioneer funeral celebrant

In honour of Marian Barnes (8/4/1929 – 8/4/2017) who paved the way for my work as an independent funeral celebrant.

Marian Barnes pioneered the celebrant funeral alternative in New Zealand starting in 1979. She actively led funerals services that were ‘honest and relevant’ to communities in mourning and was encouraging of others to do the same.

Her book Down to Earth: The Changing Funeral Needs of a Changing Society, promoted “the funeral service as a positive and creative healing resource for the bereaved, and … more about the celebration of life than the significance of death.” 

In turn, this provided a model for the development of the funeral module as part of The Celebrant School.  As contemporary celebrant, and the facilitator for the Funerals Module at The Celebrant School, I am charged with the sub-title of her book: namely, to meet the changing funeral needs of a changing society.

I give thanks for a ‘trail blazer’ such as Marian.  Her work and her passion means as a society we have choices and an awareness of these choices.  Thank you.

If you are interested in the role of funeral celebrant check out The Celebrant School