30 Congregations Sharing One Conversation

By Rev. Rosemary Lloyd , 10/27/2015

The Conversation Project is a secular organization. Yet, embedded in our mission to have everyone’s wishes for end of life care expressed and respected, is a strategy to reach people where they live, work, and pray.

We reach into congregations because they are pre-existing groups that are bound together by a set of values and a sense of community. That makes them natural environments for encouraging intimate conversations about matters most about living—and dying.

We hear from congregations across the country that they are using our free Starter Kit and that people are so grateful for the opportunity to talk about their unique perspectives about end-of-life care. For many, the invitation to share their faith and the values that undergird their thinking is met with a sense of relief—a kind of whole-hearted exhale that, finally, we can address our fears and hopes in a supportive setting.

About a year ago, we began to wonder: How could we encourage more people to share their wishes and begin feeling the relief that comes with normalizing “the conversation?” The idea for Conversation Sabbath was planted: let’s enroll clergy of many faiths to share their faith’s teachings—the wisdom from thousands of years—to bolster the spiritual community’s courage and compassion to start talking about what matters most.

Initially, we planned to test the concept of Conversation Sabbath in Boston. Soon, more than 30 clergy leaders in the Greater Boston area signed on to preach or teach about the importance of having these crucial conversations. But so did clergy leaders in Atlanta, Georgia and Bend, Oregon; in Marquette, Michigan and Springfield, Massachusetts; Anchorage, Alaska and Buffalo, NY. Episcopalians and Unitarian Universalists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists, Buddhists and Jews have found a commonality in their diversity: we are all mortal. How we die is a legacy to our loved ones and our wider community, so let’s start talking about it sooner rather than later.

It has been a joy and a privilege to see this idea grow and flourish in Boston and beyond. We would love to know how you have brought The Conversation Project to your faith community. Please let us know in the comment box below, or send us an email!

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