Reclaiming Our Dead and Their Death

Guest Martha Dallas shared on the movement towards Home Funerals and Green Burials.

When someone dies, it’s typically almost reflexive to call a funeral home. However, it has not always been this way. The profession of funeral director, along with the related goods and services comprising the funeral industry, arose and flourished over the 20th century. This century, however, a movement is growing around home funerals, green/natural burials, and a reclaiming of families’ options and rights, when it’s time for the final goodbye. Given May’s theme of exploring the realm of the margins, we explored this topic’s ethical, scientific, practical, and psychological dimensions, with a focus on opportunities for us as UUs and as Vermonters. The service nodded to Mother’s Day, if only marginally.

Bio: Martha Dallas is a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, providing customized ceremonies marking major life transitions such as weddings and memorials for (often) secular and (typically) spiritual people through her Burlington-based business, Vermont Celebrants ( Prior to this, she was a UU Director of Religious Education for over fifteen years, eleven of which were served at the First UU Society of Burlington, where she earned the status of Credentialed DRE and enjoyed several years of collegiality with Poppy Rees. Martha holds a BA in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s in Theology and Education from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She is pleased to be a guest at CVUUS!

VT Green Burials & Home Funerals Resource Sheet


Order of Service

Preservice (Ronnie Romano) & Prelude (Chuck Miller)

Bell: Recognition of Abenaki Land   Julia Chant

Welcome & Pathways to Connection: Abi Sessions, Worship Associate

Call to Worship/ Chalice Lighting: Abi Sessions

Honoring the Children in Song: Let Us Open Our Eyes, Poppy & Milo Rees

Time for All Ages:  Martha Dallas

Offering: Today’s offering will be Sandy Hook Promise. Contributions canbe made at

Milestones & Passages: Abi Sessions. Future ones can be shared at


Music: Hymnonym by Chuck Miller, text by Lucy Tenenbaum    CVUUS Choir, Lucy Tenenbaum, dir.

Reading: Abi Sessions

Sermon: Reclaiming Our Dead and Their Death   Martha Dallas

Music:  Simple Gifts

Benediction: Martha Dallas

Postlude:  Chuck Miller

Thanks to our guest worship leader Martha Dallas, our “Stream Team” Margy Young and Rich Wolfson, CVUUS Choir for special music, and Jordan Young for managing the zoom room.

Thank you for joining us for worship!