While I trust you’ll find details available elsewhere in this newsletter, I believe it’s important enough to reiterate a request here: please look into the activities we have planned around November’s theme of “Aging and the End of Life”! Since none of us are getting any younger, and all of us could potentially benefit from reflecting deeply and having ‘the conversation’ on these topics, I hope you’ll read these books and put these events on your calendar and join in as you can.
First, on Thursday, Nov. 10th at 1pm, is Consider the Conversation. One review says that Consider the Conversation is an inspiring film about the struggle Americans have with communication and preparation around the end of life. It examines multiple perspectives on end-of-life care and includes interviews with patients, family members, and medical experts from around the country, hoping to inspire dialogue between patient and doctor, husband and wife, parent and child, minister and parishioner. Rather than being a story about death, this is about living life to its fullest. A panel discussion with local hospice professionals and volunteers will follow.
Next up, on Tuesday, November 15th at 1pm, we’ll have a discussion of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. In his best-selling book, this practicing surgeon argues that quality of life should be the ultimate goal for patients and families as he offers better models for assisting the infirm and explores varieties of end-of-life care that demonstrate that our final days can indeed be rich and dignified.
Finally for November, on Tuesday the 22nd at 1pm, we have a discussion group based on The Good Death by Ann Neumann. In her book, Ms. Neumann listens to the stories of people who are close to death and discovers that the way we talk about dying and the way we actually die are two very different things. Full of intimate portraits of nurses, patients, bishops, bioethicists, and activists who are shaping the way we die, The Good Death presents a fearless examination of how we approach death and how those of us with dying loved ones live in death’s wake.
That’s it for the big-ticket items during our Aging and End-of-Life month of November, but all these items can be considered a prelude for next February which we are tentatively calling “Caring Month.” In that busiest month of our high season, we hope to take what we learn in November and develop programming that expands on ideas of how we could better care for ourselves and for each other both in this congregation and across society.
I hope you’ll agree with me that while much of this programming may appear to be focused on death, it is at its core much more about helping all of us to live life to its fullest.
Join in as you can, and
See you in church,