On Saturday, November 2, Saint Philip’s will host, in partnership with the parish Health Cabinet, a special retreat on Christian perspectives on death and dying, and the transformation of a view of the end of life in light of the hope of the resurrection. Following an opening presentation, there will be three breakout workshops from which to choose:
“Honoring a Life: Advanced Care Planning Conversations” (Co-Facilitators: The Rev’d Karen MacDonald & XueFeng Zhang, Interfaith Community Services)
“Claiming Our Stories: Practicing Spiritual Autobiography” (Facilitator: Shirin McArthur, M.Div.)
“A Journey Through Grief” (Facilitator: The Rev’d Dr. Frank Williams)
The retreat will begin at 1:00 p.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m., with a catered dinner to follow and the annual All Souls’ Day requiem mass and garden reception. There is a suggested donation of $15 to $25 to cover dinner costs, and scholarships are available for anyone with need. Please do not let cost dissuade you from registering. For more information and to register, please click the button below or contact Fr. Peter Helman, Associate Rector (520-299-6421 ext. 33; email@example.com).
Before we address the topic of death, we need to reflect on life. Some say the specter of death gives life its meaning. As William Coffin writes in his well-known book, Credo, “‘Without death, we’d never live. Without discovering the limits of our talents, we’d never discover who we are. And, finally, hard choices have a potential for riches beyond any reckoning, ‘for eye hath not seen nor ear heard nor the heart of man perceived the good things that God hath prepared for those who love him.’” Authors such as Dorothee Sölle have written that we learn about death through the death of another. “The great use of life,” she says, “is to spend it for something that outlasts it. For the Christian, what outlasts our physical life is love of God and others; that is, our view of life is from the perspective of eternity.” (See Abigail Rian Evans’ Is God Still at the Bedside? The Medical, Ethical, and Pastoral Issues of Death and Dying, 2011.)