This is the third week of “On Death and Dying,” our 2016 Wednesday night Adult series during Lent. Our session this week is led by Rev. Julie Walton and includes discussion of the physical process of dying, what happens to one’s body after death, and making decisions about what happens to our bodies after we die. We’re making these podcasts available if you are unable to join us on Wednesday nights in the fellowship hall.
Questions for Discussion this Week:
- What values or theological underpinnings do you have today in living that you hope show through in your dying and in the next steps after your death?
- What scares you about death the most? What gives you peace?
- What do you want done with your body & what services/rituals?
- What do you hope your legacy is?
- What do a good death & and good service look like?
- What questions do you need clarification on in order to prepare well for a good death?
- What loose ends do you have in your life right now that you hope will be resolved prior to death, and what steps can you take to move in that direction?
*Clarifying note: Approximately 12 minutes into the podcast, Julie mentions the relationship between brain death and continuing mechanical life-sustaining measures. She refers to the Terri Schiavo case from the early 1990’s, saying that Schiavo was brain dead and was kept on mechanical support for life sustaining measures. Schiavo was actually in what is often called a “persistent vegetative state” (without recourse for any meaningful recovery even with medical treatment) rather than brain dead, which is a clinical definition for death. The important part of the discussion, at this point in the audio, is underlining the importance of making sure our healthcare wishes for our medical treatment are known to family and loved ones. It’s important to share these decisions and make sure our loved ones understand and are able and willing to respect our healthcare instructions. This is also why it is important to have a medical decision maker, on one’s behalf, in the case that one is not able to speak for themselves. This person should be someone who will honor your wishes and respect your healthcare decisions.*
Series Overview and Schedule
“Dying is the most general human event, something we all have to do. But do we do it well? Is our death more than an unavoidable fate that we simply wish would not be there? Can it somehow become an act of fulfillment, perhaps more human than any other human act?” (Henri Nouwen). Join us for this special five-week Lenten series in the Fellowship Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings after the fellowship dinner. Led by Jeff and Julie Walton and Art Wright, this series will explore practical and theological aspects of what it means for us to prepare for a good death. Please contact Art Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Week 1 (Feb 17) – Introduction, Big Questions
Week 2 (March 2) – The Dying Process, How to Prepare Well for Death
Week 3 (March 9) – After Death, Funerals
Week 4 (March 16) – Grieving