Helping the living at Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria
Many of CCC’s internal and external stakeholders are familiar with John Dickinson, the dynamic and amicable Community Engagement Manager for Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria for the past three years. John is a huge advocate in the community for the new memorial parks at Macarthur and Nepean.
John keeps himself busy through maintaining and deepening relationships with CCC’s multiple stakeholders. He establishes new relationships with religious and non-religious groups; existing and new funeral directors; as well as commercial organisations like business chambers and not for profits.
By establishing connections with new groups who haven’t traditionally worked with CCC – such as the Buddhists and Hindus – these new communities can make decisions that work for them. John explains how CCC is a progressive community and customer service focused organisation, offering affordable and quality end of life experiences for all.
John is also instrumental in working with the various groups to assist them with their burial requirements, special gatherings such as the Ukraine Prayer Service, and sponsorships for their community events.
The most important thing that John has learnt during his time at CCC is to “empower people through information”. He does this by providing new and existing communities access to facts and our full suite of services in a way that best makes sense to them.
In Greater Sydney there are vastly different people and cultures, and it is important to understand they all have their own perceptions of death. Empathy is the key, as John likes to explain “what CCC do, is more for the living than for the dead”.
An encounter that has always stayed with John is an honest conversation that took place in the cemetery, with a 90-year-old Greek lady dressed all in black who was visiting her husband.
She called the cemetery a beautiful place and summarised the journey of life by stating “You are born, you grow and are full of ideas, you have many years of enjoyment eating, drinking and living and then you die”.
John has long been a champion for helping people. His biggest passion is people and how to make their lives better. He gains satisfaction from being a resource for communities and organisations to turn to for answers on our diverse services and Grief Care support.
People constantly ask him what it’s like working in a cemetery. His response is that he “works with the greatest people, their skills, ideas and attitude are unparalleled”. The team may be small in numbers, but they always go above and beyond to assist others.
If there is one take-away that John wishes everyone knows about the end-of life industry, it is that “there is a place for everyone to be farewelled in a way that they determine; whether that be a traditional burial, a crypt, natural burial or cremation – there is a place for them”.