Crucial Conversations: the Language of Death and Dying

On June 5th, 2018, Laura L. Barry, our Hospice Chaplain, organized a follow-up event to our Science and Spirituality of Death program called Crucial Conversations: the Language of Death and Dying.


You may remember the Science and Spirituality of Death on March 13th brought faith leaders from in and around the Philadelphia area together in an engaging collaborative conversation about the importance of faith and faith leaders in the dying process.


The Science and Spirituality of Death program which was offered free to faith based leaders was the beginning of what was hoped to be an ongoing series of conversations and meetings in collaborating with the faith communities in which we serve.


The community interest in continuing end of life discussions has lead us to develop the quarterly series called “Crucial Conversations.”  Working with faith leaders, we will explore new topics of interest related to end of life care impacting our communities.


Crucial Conversations: the Language of Death and Dying opened a discussion about speaking from the heart versus the head when caring for members of faith communities, clichés to avoid, what to say and importantly, being comfortable in the sometimes uncomfortable emotions related to end of life.


Laura L. Barry presented and was supported by our Chaplain Supervisor Donna Geiger, Chaplain Ronald Kinsey and Bereavement Coordinator, Zac Adams.  Attendance included 9 faith based leaders representing the Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist faith traditions. Also in attendance was the Program Facilitator for Communication and Leader Development for the Philadelphia Baptist Association which consists of 124 local Baptist congregations.


With the great success of the Science and Spirituality of Death program, where do we go from here?


The VNA has been asked to spearhead an end of life workshop for the Philadelphia Baptist Association’s  upcoming clergy meeting in the fall. We will also continue to organize and facilitate faith based quarterly meetings as Crucial Conversations are a needed and valuable resource in helping residents in our community receive quality care, needed support and dignity at the end of life.


Our next meeting is September 25, 2018. Thank you and stay tuned for our future updates, successes and stories.