A Church of England vicar was named Funeral Celebrant of the Year at the Good Funeral Awards.
The Revd Juliet Stephenson, was awarded the Funeral Celebrant of the Year, and was the only Church of England vicar among 11 nominees in the category.
The Revd Juliet Stephenson, vicar of the Church of the Holy Nativity, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, said: “Being a vicar, a huge amount of my time is spent with families coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. I do just what every other Church of England vicar does; I get alongside, I listen, I help them celebrate and I help them cry. All of this is done whilst holding their story within the greater story of God and the hope of salvation.
“The fact that a regular vicar won Funeral Celebrant of the Year, highlights the deep respect the funeral industry holds for the Church of England. They are conscious of the importance of good relationships with local funeral directors, and also hugely aware of the great pastoral network that the Church of England offers.”
During the evening, the Church of England presented the award for new Funeral Director of the Year to Anne Wardle of Bewley and Merrett from Corsham.
The Church of England hosted a pop-up GraveTalk event at the show – a national resource to help churches get people talking about death and dying – in a yurt. Author the Revd Belinda Davies led the session where people were able to start a conversation about death, dying and funerals using the GraveTalk questions.
Canon Dr Sandra Millar, Head of Projects and Developments said. “The Church of England was a small presence at the weekend, where many funeral professionals met to see some of the new things happening in the funeral world, and also to celebrate all that is good. The Church of England has been alongside countless families for generations through dying, funerals and bereavement and continues to serve people throughout the country, wherever they are.”
The Church of England conducts over 3,000 funerals each week. Traditionally, clergy are referred to as ‘ministers’ or ‘officiants’ but the award recognised those who ‘take the service’, now referred to as celebrants in the funeral world.
New Funeral Director of the Year Nominees:
Judith Dandy of Dandelion Farewells: [Chichester Diocese]
Anne Wardle of Bewley and Merritt of Corsham: [Bristol Diocese]
Colin Fisher of Colin Fisher Funeral Directors: [Rochester Diocese]
Carrie Weekes & Frances Dovey of A Natural Undertaking: [Birmingham Diocese]
Michelle Balam of Roseberry Funeral Services Redcar: [York Diocese]
Tiffany Grant of Leverton & Sons: [London Diocese]