Reverend Rosemary Lloyd has been dreaming about an interfaith, community-wide conversation about end-of-life care for years. Lloyd, who has worked as a nurse, a hospice volunteer and a Unitarian minister, says she wants to make talking about death a more common conversation.
In 2013 she discovered The Conversation Project and offered her services as a consultant to help bring its mission and message to congregations nationwide. Since officially joining the project as its Advisor to the Faith Based Communities, she has led experiential workshops in a variety of religious settings using The Conversation Starter Kit as her guide, reaching people where they live, work, pray and gather. “Clergy see too often how avoiding these conversations can leave family members in the dark or cause arguments and strife at the bedside,” says Lloyd. “Religious leaders have the power of the pulpit to encourage congregants to have The Conversation sooner rather than later—in familiar settings, not waiting for a medical crisis in the ICU.”
This fall, she will help unify more than 30 diverse congregations across the Commonwealth, inviting them to preach or teach on the vital importance of having The Conversation during a two-week period. In a recent conversation with Reverend Lloyd, she offered the top five things you need to know about Conversation Sabbath, this upcoming religion-wide celebration.
1. Conversation Sabbath is happening November 6th– 15th, 2015.
2. The key to Conversation Sabbath is that clergy leaders will be teaching or preaching on the vital importance of having values-based conversations with loved ones about one another’s wishes for care at the end of life.
3. The Conversation Project respects theological distinctions among religious traditions and supports having end-of-life care conversations that keep within each faith’s principles. At the same time, Conversation Sabbath embraces the universality within the diversity that stems from our shared human existence: we are all mortal.
4. Some houses of worship will incorporate additional programming to support having The Conversation, such as adult education programs, book discussion groups, or a Starter Kit workshop on using The Conversation Project’s free, downloadable guide on how to begin The Conversation.
5. Joining this effort is easy! Simply email Rosemary Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org) and commit your congregation to preaching or teaching about end-of-life care conversations during Conversation Sabbath. Let us know how your congregation will participate. For ideas and sermon suggestions, go to our Community Resource Center at theconversationproject.org