Empathy, EQ and Holding it Together

Empathy, emotional intelligence, the ability to create and hold a ceremony, together with conviction and the composure to work with bereaved families are key qualities for anyone charged to lead a funeral service. But without experience and knowledge of the individual, how can you know that have the right person for the job?

The Celebrants’ Association of New Zealand (CANZ) gives you that assurance.  They’ve always seen the importance of its members providing a consistently high level of professional and ethical service, and with the introduction of an ethics test and VCANZ, a validation process, they’ve just upped the ante.  Rather than assuming that member celebrants adhere to the CANZ professional standards and code of ethics, from September all members have had to pass the association’s online test to prove they have a well-grounded knowledge of these important components

Adding to this, CANZ has introduced VCANZ, which is a structured recognition of celebrant training, experience and professional development based on the CANZ body of knowledge. The programme has been in the pipeline for several years and took considerable time and focus to develop what is a robust process for its members to more clearly and transparently show their professionalism and commitment to the highest quality of celebrant services possible.

It’s an exciting and significant change in the organisation’s 18-year history and one that’s designed to provide the public and allied sectors, such as FDANZ, with certainty and greater assurance that a CANZ celebrant, and the in future a celebrant with VANCZ accreditation, meets the professional standards of competency in the professional knowledge practice and ethics required for celebrant work.  After four years, CANZ celebrants must reapply for validation and to retain their membership, must pass the online ethics test annually.

Member celebrants are encouraged to keep learning to learn and while pathways to celebrant work vary widely the Celebrants’ Association has approved two celebrancy training providers: The Celebrant School and the Celebrant Training College both provide formal qualifications in celebrancy and ongoing professional development, which is essential in the VCANZ process.

 VCANZ may also change how people marry.  Online processes with Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) means fewer customers conducting face-to-face transactions with BDM or the courthouses.  This means that from 1 July next year marriage and civil union celebrants will provide registry type ceremonies in the regions outside Auckland, Manukau, Wellington and Christchurch.

People who live away from a main centre but who want a registry style wedding will be able to do this, provided there is a registered celebrant who is a validated member of the Celebrants’ Association of NZ in their area (this means they have the letters VCANZ after their name as listed on the CANZ and BDM websites.

Potentially, this could create an opportunity for funeral chapels to host registry-style marriage ceremonies, and if it seems counterintuitive, for centuries faith churches have been the bricks and mortar for births, deaths and marriages.  Something to think about as we head into 2019. 

For more information take a look at the Celebrants’ Association website: www.celebrantassociation.co.nz

Originally published in the December 2018 edition of Funeralcare Magazine.

Lianne Fraser