Every Picture Tells a Story
As funeral ministers Phil Spicksley and Irene Kopanska have a special role to play at that most sensitive and difficult of times, when family and friends lose a loved one.
Irene Kopanska and Phil Spikesley
Phil and Irene are Humanist funeral ministers. They conduct services where its felt an emphasis on religious faith might not be appropriate for a deceased person. Sometimes people declare their wishes for a non-religious service in advance because their feelings on religious matters make them feel such a service would be inappropriate. In some cases a Humanist service is requested because it's thought a person's faith has lapsed.
Both Phil and Irene have religious backgrounds. Irene grew up as a Catholic but as she grew older, she also grew apart from her faith. Throughout her teens she experienced close personal loss and began to question belief systems. Later, her working life brought her into contact with people with a variety of social difficulties which has led her to examine even more closely the nature of belief.
Phil, before his retirement was a former Detective Inspector with Humberside Police and differs from Irene in that he was brought up in the High Church of the Church of England and retains his faith. He was the leading investigator in a number of high profile cases and attended a number of funeral services in support of families who'd lost a family member in tragic circumstances. Some of which were Humanist.
He was intrigued by the nature of the services and this spurred him into giving the subject much thought. It was after his retirement from the force some 18 months ago he trained as a minister and now conducts services in the Scunthorpe area.
Both Phil and Irene are keen to emphasise that Humanist services are about respect and dignity for the deceased and their services focus more on the person than spirituality and the bereaved comment to them that they seemed to 'know' the person much more closely and give a clearer picture of the person and their lives.
last updated: 21/08/2008 at 14:55