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Faith communities and conversations about death


October 13, 2018

Courtesy Photo

Sarah Jane Delaney, Bruce Swinehart, Laura Hehner, Constance Holden, Eric Garner (back), Nadya Gross, Victor Gross, Mike Dudley (back) Janet Kettering, Kathy Wooton (back).

We need to reach people “where they live, work and pray.” This recommendation came from Ellen Goodman, former Boston Globe columnist and founder of The Conversation Project in Cambridge, MA. She was talking about ways to spread the word about the importance of talking about what matters to you at the end of life. Studies show that over half of us will need to rely on others to make treatment decisions.

A faith community partnership in Gunbarrel is holding a 5-part series entitled, “Thoughtful Endings,” which started on Sept. 16. This series, supported by The Conversation Project in Boulder County, has been planned in partnership with St Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, Vinelife Church, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Niwot United Methodist Church, Valmont Presbyterian Church, and Pardes Levovat Jewish Community. They hope to engage other Gunbarrel congregations for a spring series and to spread this idea to other “clustered congregations.”

The series will address confronting mortality, identifying values and wishes, creating legal documents, caregiving resources available in Boulder County, and disposition of your body. Many of the speakers and panelists are drawn from the hosting congregations.

Eric Garner, minister at the Valmont Presbyterian Church, said, “Unfortunately we are a people who tend to shy away from death; who are embarrassed by it. That is why the content of this series is so important. These seminars are intended to move us away from our discomfort surrounding the discussion of the end of life and death, instead redirecting our focus towards how to engage with these universal experiences well.”



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