Celebrations of Life, Memorials and Graveside Interments
Although we regard death as the end of our conscious life, we share the hope that we will live on in the minds and hearts of those whose lives we enriched throughout our earthly life. Our Funerals, Graveside Interments, Memorials and Celebration of Life services provide an opportunity to gather, remember, and celebrate the lives of our loved ones, and to help comfort the bereaved on their individual journeys of grief.
Following your inquiry (by phone or email) through our Chaplain Coordinator, one of our Lay Chaplains will call you (email if preferred) directly to arrange a meeting if possible to talk with you about the deceased and your needs and vision for the type of service you wish. With the information you provide, the Lay Chaplain will draft a ceremony for your review, incorporating rituals, eulogies, music, readings, stories, individual testimonials and tributes, as you wish. We will take your lead in honouring your loved one appropriately. We will be honoured to work with you to create a unique and memorable service for your loved one. For rental inquiries for holding a service at Toronto First Unitarian, please see our "Rentals" section.
1. Do we need to be Unitarians or members of First Unitarian to use a Lay Chaplain?
No. Unitarians in Canada have a long history of providing services for rites-of-passage to people who do not belong to any church or religious group.
2. What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?
Typically, a funeral happens within a few days of death and the remains of the deceased are present in a coffin, casket or cremation urn. It tends to be a more traditional ceremony, in a formal setting such as a church or funeral home.
A Memorial service or Celebration of Life service can happen anywhere and at any time after a death. Photographs, mementoes, and slides of the deceased are often featured. Candle lighting, music, and readings are often elements of these services. Typically these services are less formal than a traditional funeral.
An Internment of Ashes service may be held in a cemetery, or service to observe the scattering of ashes in a location conforming to local bylaws. Please see: https://www.ontario.ca/page/arrange-funeral-burial-cremation-or-scattering
Our fee is $350, which includes meeting with you and your family, creating your service in consultation with you, and officiating at the ceremony on the day and in the place of your choosing. A deposit of $150 in advance of the ceremony is required to book the services of a Lay Chaplain.
4. What kinds of services are offered?
Our Lay Chaplains offer you their experience, skill and sensitivity to your needs in planning the ceremony of your choice, including but not limited to:
- A Funeral or Memorial service in a funeral home, private venue, or First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto (please see our “Rentals” section)
- A graveside burial service or interment of ashes
- A gathering at a crematorium or mausoleum
- A scattering of ashes over earth or water
- A pre-death ceremony in a private home (private or institution), hospital, or hospice setting