When someone close to us dies, our lives are plunged into a different reality as we plan for the farewell and take care of the details which surround a death.

I believe that a funeral service is very, very important.  A funeral service provides a set-aside time and space which enables us to celebrate and honour, to farewell and to send on the one who has died; it provides space for us to grieve together; it enables us to support one another.  The service may be traditional or informal; it may incorporate aspects of faith or may be entirely secular; it may blend cultures and ritual.

An experienced funeral celebrant, I also work in end-of-life and palliative care. I deeply understand the needs of families at this most challenging of times.

I’m skilled in funeral services for children and young people and I understand the importance of blending spiritual understandings and cultural expectations.


Following the death of a loved one, you will often be linked with me by a funeral director. However, you’re very welcome to contact me directly.    

We’ll make a time to meet, usually at your home. I’ll listen carefully to your wishes and ideas and ask questions so that, together, we can craft a service that is authentic and meaningful. We’ll talk through options and I’ll give you a resource of readings and provide you with support to help you shape your family tributes. Together, we’ll agree on the structure and content of the service. I’ll write the service and liaise regularly with your funeral director.  Finally, I’ll be honoured to lead the funeral service.

As well as funeral services, I write and conduct services for memorial services, unveilings and interment of ashes.  The collaborative planning process is very similar to that for a funeral service. 


It may be that a family member is nearing the end of life and you want to talk through ideas for a funeral service, or perhaps you wish to plan your own funeral and to leave some instructions for your family. 

I’m very happy to meet with you to talk through the likely events and requirements at the time of death and to discuss broadly the ways in which a funeral may be conducted. This may be a single meeting or it may incorporate the process described above.  


Where a funeral service is to be led by a family member or another person, I offer assistance with writing the eulogy and/or family tributes.

I’ll meet with you to understand your needs. Depending on the requirement, I’ll: (A) assist you to write your tribute and edit your words; or (B) fully craft the tribute.   


Dear Elizabeth

I wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for all that you did for us following Mum’s death; not just the beautiful service you created to celebrate her life, but also the genuine care you showed for each of us.

You have a true gift in the way in which you can bring comfort and peace to others at such a sad time. We were blessed to have you there to guide us along the way and to help us seek the strength we need to start coming to terms with our loss.

Thank you for being there for us.

We have worked with Elizabeth a number of times in her role as a funeral celebrant.  Her calm, compassionate and professional manner makes her a pleasure to work with, and she builds strong and trusting relationships with the families she works with. 

We have seen her work with a wide range of families and situations and, in each, she really listens to the family and their wishes and can also provide wise advice and guidance when required.  We have seen her manage very large, complex funerals, small intimate family services, ones with complicated cultural aspects that require excellent negotiation skills, and one where she had to whip out her guitar and lead the singing when the guitarist hadn’t turned up!  She also played the harp for a family as part of the service.

Her warmth, gentle approach and clear way of communicating means the family get a very special service from her.  We highly recommend her whenever we can.

Janet Mikkelsen and Liz Hermse
Funeral Directors, State of Grace East