Banner Blue for Celebrants

John Hill appeals personally to the ACCC's, Graeme Samuel
for a fair go for Funeral Celebrants

"Funeral celebrants, are at the bottom of the “food chain”. They receive little for their services, when considering the important role they play in the lives of families"John Hill

ACCC and Messenger: Table of Contents

Mr Graeme Samuel
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,

Level 35, The Tower, 360 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, 3000 

Re Dally Messenger III 

I write to you personally so that you may be able to understand the respect in which we hold this wonderfully generous and creative man. We celebrants acknowledge the contribution he has made to the Celebrant Movement. He has also contributed much to create a more humane, decent and hopefilled society. 

Mr. Messenger was my mentor when I was first appointed a celebrant in February 1995. Like all celebrants who wish to excel in this worthy profession, there was the need to find teachers who taught in words and actions but even more so with inner values. Mr. Messenger did precisely that. His integrity meant the alignment of words and actions with deep inner values. Those of us who had him as a teacher found this out in the process of our initial training. Why the Celebrant Movement has had such high respect with the general public is because he has presented values that are essential in ritual. An alternative and more expedient path would have been easier and definitely more financially advantageous.  

Mr. Messenger has proved himself a leader in his field because he is trusted and he holds to strong values. He has become a powerful model for us to copy. He has been able to influence an entire movement in developing effective cultural values. 

In the past Dally Messenger founded two major marriage celebrant organizations dedicated to the ideal of doing good in society.  He has always displayed that rather rare virtue of giving voluntary time and energy to a task that he believed in. I personally observed how he gave of himself. He wanted to see the richness and the beauty of ritual and ceremony for the sake of Australian culture. 

In this quest he has been magnanimous in crediting and affirming others with success, while at the same time accepting personal responsibility if things did not work out. He always bestowed great dignity on all those who worked with him in any capacity. 

What has made the work of Mr. Messenger so unique in the celebrant field is that he has been the most creative of individuals. This in part has had to do with his academic background but, surpassing even that, is his ability to think differently, and being able to move outside ‘the box’. He has the ability to take a new and different viewpoint on things. 

He has always endeavoured to see a future for the Celebrant Movement which would allow all of us, who are privileged to work in this field, to be creative. He has helped us acquire the ability to think differently and to see things that others have not seen. 

In this way he has given those of us who have learnt from him the ability to follow creative pathways and thus engender the Celebrant Movement with what is deeply human and at the same time very spiritual. 

It needs also to be acknowledged that people who work in our profession are meant to be very competent in their field. They need to be reimbursed to an extent that does justice to their profession and their training. Unfortunately, many in our society do not recognize this. Civil celebrants, especially funeral celebrants, are at the bottom of the “food chain”. They receive little for their services, when considering the important role they play in the lives of families and the broader community. The amount of money spent on things that do not really matter in the surrounds of weddings and funerals, compared to the fee given to a celebrant for the detailed work involved, is very disconcerting. 

Dally Messenger has continually reminded us that rites of passage are central to the way we live our lives. He has been a pioneer and a visionary in this field. It has been his creativity, his enthusiasm, his commitment and his insight as to what the community truly needs and values, that gave birth to the International College of Celebrancy. 

He has been its guiding light. He has fought against the mediocre, the facile, the tacky, the bland and the pedestrian. He has opposed the clichéd performances of poorly trained and insensitive celebrants. For this reason many, I believe most, who work in the field as celebrants, would wish to acknowledge the gift he has given to us, and the gift he is to all of us.

The amount of $46,000 plus legal fees, for a real or perceived legal transgression,  which your organisation has imposed upon him, is seen by most people who know the circumstances, as unbalanced, and out of all proportion to the real or perceived offence against society. Is there any way this fine or costs can be lessened?
I am writing to ask you to do whatever you can to rectify this situation as much as you can. 

With respect,
John Hill 
Civil Marriage Celebrant
5th of September 2007

Books for sale from the Celebrants Centre 1300 446 786 Yvonne -
Ceremonies - all
Ceremonies and Celebrations Book and CD
Celebrant Training in History
Marriage Ceremonies
It's Your Wedding by Dally Messenger