We are getting ready to launch our second Conversation Sabbath this fall – and this year the ripple effect is going national.
We’ve already heard that there are plans afoot in Wisconsin, Northern California, Georgia, and Canada, to enroll clergy of many traditions to preach or teach in November about the importance of having crucial end-of-life care conversations. We’d love to learn what you are planning for your area.
“Joining” Conversation Sabbath is easy and straightforward. Simply register your commitment to preach or teach on this topic that touches every life. Once we have your registration, we will send out supporting materials that can be used to announce and promote your work within your spiritual community. You can show your connection to a wider movement by using the Conversation Sabbath 2016 logo and videos you can link to on your website. And we can help streamline some of your work by providing a sample newsletter article, sample social media posts, as well as sermons that were shared by some of last year’s participating clergy.
Some colleagues have asked whether it makes sense to join Conversation Sabbath this year if they preached about the importance of having “The Conversation” last year. My response (unsurprisingly) is, “Yes, of course!”
We know that people respond to difficult topics in different ways over the course of life. Our readiness to forgive or be forgiven, for example, evolves. That is why clergy takes up those themes year after year: with the hope that this will be the year a seed of possibility lands in a ready heart.
Every year, there are people who receive a new or changing diagnosis. This year, another loved one will die. Or a high school senior prepares to leave for college. Before these life changes, listeners may not have been tuned into the topic of embracing the reality of one’s mortality, but now they are eager to hear a good word of support or guidance. Perhaps this is the year to focus on the sacred and challenging role of being a caregiver or how our values are called into sharp relief when faced with having to articulate our goals for care as the body diminishes.
So we ask, what are the theological underpinnings for making decisions about end-of-life care? What are the spiritual gifts to be unwrapped in reflecting on our human frailty? How can sharing our thoughts about our values and ethics, our stories of how death has impacted our lives, and what matters most about living be a gift we give our children and grandchildren? These, too, are themes that can be visited during Conversation Sabbath.
I feel I am “preaching to the choir” of readers of this blog! You already know how valuable it is to have The Conversation sooner, at home, before there is a crisis. That’s why you are the perfect ambassadors to share the invitation to clergy in your community to join Conversation Sabbath November 11-20. Check out our Community Resource Center for more support materials or be in touch to let us know what you need.