40 Bethel AME Church Members Got Together To Talk About Death. What Happened Was Inspiring

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    Over the past years, Bethel AME Church in Boston has dedicated their energy, time and efforts to launching a ministry called Planning Ahead.

    This program not only prompts congregants to think critically about what matters most to them, it also encourages them to think about how their faith speaks to the values they would like to have honored towards the end of their lives.

    The insights and enthusiasm of the original 40 workshop participants sparked a movement in their predominantly African-American congregation in Boston. Though the “40 sparks” began by asking questions with some fear and reluctance, they were motivated by the urgency they felt to plan for the inevitable: their deaths.


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    In the company of one another, in the familiar setting of their spiritual home, people expressed their uncertainties and anxieties, and supported each other to discuss the decisions that they believed would help their family and friends at critical and difficult times: as they were dying—and after they passed.

    Their engagement in these spiritually grounded conversations led to the creation of a new ministry and a desire to share it beyond the walls of their church building.

    Read more about Bethel’s successes, challenges and insight around what it was like to meaningfully engage their congregation in having the conversation in a faith-based setting from our friends at the Conservation Project: https://theconversationproject.org/tcp-blog/planning-ahead-one-churchs-journey-to-normalizing-conversations-about-what-matters-most-in-life-death-and-dying-2/



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