What Families and Funeral Directors are saying …

Feb. 2015
Rev Francis,
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the family to thank you for conducting the service for Beryl yesterday. Our friends and family were happy with the way  in which you conducted the ceremony. Be blessed.


May 2014
Dear Pastor/Celebrant  Francis,
I would like to thank you so profoundly for a wonderful performance at my father’s (George W) memorial service.
Everyone I spoke to wanted to know where you ministered in order to attend your service. I, personally am very impressed by your ability to make a sad situation very light, so much so that I did not lose my composure. I thought that was a marvelous feat. Thanks again and my very best to you as you continue your celebrant ministry.


In Memory of Wilfred St. John
Dear Chaplain Garry,
Thank you for all your support during our difficult time. Your service was moving as if you knew him, Your  support meant a lot to us.
Evelyn McCormick, Frank St. John, Ryan and Veronica Mc Cormick, Ryan, Justin and Jessica


McDougall & Brown Funeral Home
Eglinton Chapel
July 15, 2013




I am writing this letter to express my confidence and faith in Pastor Garry Francis. Pastor Francis has been associated with our funeral home for the past several years as a reliable member of the community. We have called on Pastor Francis not only in the conducting of funeral services for our families but also to participate at community functions we have sponsored.

When called upon to perform funeral services for families that are in need of clergy, Pastor Francis takes the time to speak with the family ahead of time and really get a grasp of what it is that they need in their time of loss.  His calm demeanor makes him a very easy person to talk to and for families to open up to.
He has the ability to project an “Isle of Calm” inspiring families to work through this very difficult time and period of adjustment in their lives. Every single family that he has performed services for have been thrilled with our recommending him.
Pastor Francis is a great asset to have on our team and I believed he would be the same for anyone who is in need of clergy support.


Sean  Marenger
Managing Director



June 6, 2013
To Whom It May Concern:
Letter of Reference: Garry Francis – Certified Life Celebration Specialist


It is with deep gratitude and appreciation that I write this letter of reference for Celebrant Garry Francis of Sunrise Celebrations.
In April, 2013, my beloved 26-year-old daughter and best friend, Lindsay, was killed in a shocking, sudden manner.  When I should have been preparing for her university graduation, I found myself instead preparing for two memorial services for her, one in Durham Region where she grew up, and one in Kingston where my family resides and where Lindsay worked and graduated from college before attending university.
We expected a large service with a lot of shocked, upset young people in attendance.  Nipissing University and my employer were bringing busloads of mourners to her service, and many of her high school friends still live in Durham Region.  It was important to us to have an appropriate Celebrant for Lindsay’s memorial service, not only to bring dignity and personalization to it, but also sensitivity and comfort to the numbers of traumatized young people present (including my young nieces and nephews).  Under these circumstances, Rick Barnes of Barnes Memorial Funeral Home in Whitby recommended that Celebrant Garry Francis would be the best person to meet these very complex needs.
He could not have been more correct.  Celebrant Francis met with me personally to learn about my daughter, and, of course, I shared with him her obituary and some personal facts, qualities or stories about her.  I also discussed with him some issues we were having around the circumstances of my daughter’s death that were concerning me about the upcoming service.  He assured me that he would handle any such issues that might arise, and in my own personal state of devastation and trauma, gave me confidence that he had precisely the personal qualities and ability to do so.  In fact, he dealt with one such issue that very evening while in my home.
At the Whitby service, with about 400 people present, I sat in awe at how Celebrant Francis had taken the little information he had about my daughter from me and the obituary, and in such a short time, had woven this information into a beautiful, original and inspirational service that could not have been surpassed.  He had clearly worked for hours on his plan to honour Lindsay and tell her story.  He spoke inspirationally to the young people present about her life as a transformational one in terms of the people she had touched through her passion for her work with vulnerable people.  He creatively linked her love of taking photos of her friends to a theme of “capturing life”, and encouraged everyone present to capture life as she did.   I have even had co-workers tell me since that they are taking their cameras to work to ensure that before they retire, they “capture life” as Lindsay did, in the way that Celebrant Francis described.
I have had so many people tell me since Lindsay’s service how “perfect”, “beautiful” and “dignified” it was.  Many of these comments came from Lindsay’s university, college and high school friends.   The importance of Celebrant Francis’ sensitivity to the young people present cannot be over-emphasized.  It was very important to me as Lindsay’s mother, even in my own behaviour, that these young people not be further traumatized by the service. With Celebrant Francis’ professionalism and leadership, we avoided this.  Since my daughter was not religious, Celebrant Francis also had to balance the non-denominational nature of the service with recognition that for some mourners, including me, certain Biblical psalms or passages would be of comfort and should be included.  He did so discreetly and admirably.
We experienced only one potentially disruptive issue during the service from one mourner, and Celebrant Francis also professionally and diplomatically handled this person’s intervention such that I barely knew anything had occurred.
Given the very traumatic nature of my daughter’s death, the number of people in attendance, the traumatized youth and family members in attendance, and the one or two issues that had to be managed, Celebrant Francis did an outstanding job under very stressful circumstances. He demonstrated considerable “grace under pressure”.  I will always be grateful, and am honoured to have met him.
He has my highest recommendation.

A. Irons
Ajax, ON