Here in 2019 I am in my tenth year as Funeral Celebrant.
Looking back to 2003 and where the seed for this important work all began, it was the loss of a dear and good friend and the privilege of being invited to be Master of Ceremonies for his funeral, when my journey as a Funeral Celebrant started.
The funeral, attended by over one hundred people, was held in the gardens of a small Buddhist Temple in the Dandenongs, and culminated a week of events celebrating his life and passing. It was an experience on which my role today as a funeral celebrant was founded.
My working life before and after that time, has been in one way or another helping and working closely with people from many walks of life. Both in the country and city.
Organising and running community events, training and marketing, sales, public speaking and presenting, writing and announcing on community radio.
Each life experience adding to the next, to draw on and be able to confidently and compassionately relate to the many different people I come to meet, and to work patiently with you amid the grief and emotional turmoil of loss.
It is my aim to assist you to prepare the just right service for you to say a final farewell to the one you have lost.
A reverent and loving tribute, remembrance, farewell and celebration of life, with the telling by those close of an Australian story of someone who lived among you, with you and was loved and dear to you.
A Little of my story...
Moving to Melbourne in the late 1970's after growing up country Victoria, where at a young age I was introduced to live theatre, and skills of the stage, performing in front of large groups and presenting.
Back in Australia worked in TAFE running events, and then in local government organising community events, managing parks and gardens, and tourism promotions; and later art exhibitions and auctioneering artworks; trained and coached sales teams, promoted small business and trade events, worked in HR for awhile and then for a community house, as well as regular present on a community radio.
Since the early 1990's I have been practitioner of Buddhism, drawing on its peaceful qualities and understanding, providing a deeper understanding of life and death and coping with the realities it brings with it.
The applied ethics of compassion and wisdom of Buddhism developing a deeper empathy and understanding of people in our time of need and day to day lives.
Other people experiences and life lessons came as a volunteer within the Buddhist, interfaith and multicultural communities of Melbourne, including as a representative of a number of peak advisory bodies, and as a delegate to international conferences. Lending a helping hand teaching English as a second language to Cambodian, Sri Lankan and
Vietnamese Buddhist Monastics, as well as helping with community fundraising events and annual celebrations.
"We are extremely grateful to you for organizing the service on such short notice and being able
to incorporate our diverse religious beliefs."
Drawing on the peaceful qualities of Buddhism with its understanding and harmony found with other faiths, beliefs and cultures, my practice included time as a novice monk; practicing the ancient art of Chan-Zen painting; as attendant to a Buddhist Master for many years; helping build, fundraise and maintain Temples.
Through my own journey, or quiet meditation and the path toward developing the qualities of patience, tolerance, understanding and determination to meet wisely with and solve the inevitable problems and challenges we each face in life. It is a lifelong learning process.
Being a celebrant...
It was in March 2010 when I presented my first service as a funeral celebrant, and by late 2011 had stepped into the role as my full-time vocation.
Now in my ninth year, I continue to work with funeral homes across Melbourne and the country, and have been honored to help prepare and present many hundreds of services for families from many different walks of life.
As a writer and speaker, parent, and a student of Buddhism for over 25 years, I have learn't the importance and benefit of truly listening, developing an inner respect for others needs, to finding the right words, at the right time and in a manner in which to be of most benefit.
Whenever I'm asked about my work as a celebrant my reply is simply, I love this work.
I am pleased if you so choose to be able to be of help to you in this way.
May all these life experiences be directed to the wish and intention to be of practical benefit, to you and your family at your time of need, whenever it may come.
With kind wishes, Julian Bamford