Death and Dying Explored

Caring Network hosted a couple of events revolving around the issue of death and the things one might get in order before one dies. These three events were offered to the wider community of Addison County.

Final Gifts: What to Do Before We Die

Wednesday afternoon January 10, 1 PM, Fellowship Hall

The panel included knowledgeable people covering issues such as simplifying the stuff in your life, getting important paperwork in place, information about Hospice & green burials, and Death with Dignity.  Included was a time for questions & answers after each presentation.  Resource sheets (below) and a display were offered.

Do’s and Don’ts Before You Die Resources 1.10.24

Green Burial Resources 1.10.24

Community Remembrance Ceremony

Friday Evening January 12, 7 PM , Sanctuary

Rev. Christina and leaders of CVUUS gathered us for a contemplative service of honoring and remembering loved ones we have lost, including Rev Martin Luther King Jr.  Through photos, naming, music, candle lighting, and silence we honored family, friends and loved ones who have died.

Worship Service: Practicing Death

Sunday Morning January 14, 10 AM, Sanctuary

We know that there’s one thing we can count on in this life: that it will end! How can we prepare for this, and know that we’re not alone in the journey? Through looking at religious and cultural perceptions of death and our personal relationship with death we will explore what it means to practice dying so we can truly live.  Led by Rev. Christina with Abi Sessions. See a recording here:

Medical Aid in Dying (Death Café)

Coming  Tuesday February 20, 5 PM, Sanctuary  

A conversation hosted by Porter Medical Center’s Palliative Care Department and led by Dr. Diana Barnard.

Words from Rev. Christina (Jan 2024)

When I was serving First Parish in Portland, the Stewardship Team was struggling to make the campaign different and interesting.  We decided on a sermon series for stewardship month that included services on death, sex, and money.  We thought that even though most people did not like talking about these things, the topics were intriguing enough that people would show up on Sundays out of mere curiosity.  It worked, we had a very good pledge drive that year, and congregants talked about the sermon series for years.

The service on death generated the most feedback and questions. So much so that I decided to teach a six-week class on death which helped people explore their relationship with death and prepare for their own death.   I offered it on Wednesday afternoons wondering if anyone would sign up. Twenty-six people attended the series.  It was powerful.

Death is challenging; both thinking about our own death and losing people we love.   Our faith tradition does not have any answers about death.  Unlike most religious traditions, we have no clear theology or eschatology about death, no roadmap of the afterlife.  This can make the topic of death a bit scarier, but a lot more interesting.

During my time with you this month, in collaboration with the Caring Network and the Worship Team, we are offering three opportunities for you to explore death.  These events are described in this newsletter.  I hope you will attend at least one of them, even if you feel apprehensive.

I love what bell hooks said about death: “Love empowers us to live fully and die well. Death becomes, then, not an end to life but a part of living.”  When we dive into death we dive into life and come face to face with our hearts.   The beautiful thing about congregational life and our faith is that we have the privilege of exploring challenging subjects together, in community with love and acceptance and curiosity.

If any of this is bringing up difficult thoughts or feelings for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.  It is an honor to serve you and partake in your journey.

Bright blessings and lots of love to each one of you in this New Year!

Rev. Christina