Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 7pm – 9 pm, “Home After-Death Care & Green Burials: What Is It? Why Would You Want to do It?”

Annual public forum, featuring Elizabeth Knox, founder of Crossings: Caring for Our Own and president of the National Home Funeral Association. Elizabeth will share the story of her 7-year-old daugher’s home vigil, featured in the book Alison’s Gift. Macalester Plymouth United Church, 1658 Lincoln Ave, Saint Paul. Free and open to all.

TUESDAY May 13, 2014, 7pm meeting at the home of Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan, 21 E. Rustic Lodge Ave., Minneapolis. Information and stories about Green Burial & Cremation, including options for both in Minnesota.

Outdoor vigil



Next Meeting SUNDAY April 6, 2014 Children’s Deaths

March 15, 2014 by mnthreshold  | Edit

The next meeting is SUNDAY (not the usual Monday) April 6, 7pm, at the home of Anne Murphy, 2183 Wellesley Avenue, Saint Paul 55105.
Topic: Deaths of Young Children. Share and hear stories, including that of Elizabeth Knox’s daughter, told in the inspiring book Alison’s Gift (available at the meeting). See Nancy Jewel Poer’s new 25-minute video “Gifts of Home Funerals for Families and Community Threshold Work.”
 Twin girls, Brielle and Kyrie, were  born 12 weeks ahead of their due  date. Needing intensive care, they  were placed in separate incubators.  Kyrie began to gain weight and her  health stabilized. But Brielle, born  only 2 lbs, had trouble breathing,  heart problems and other  complications. She was not expected  to live.  Their nurse did everything she  could to make Brielle’s health  better, but nothing she did was  helping her. With nothing else to do,  their nurse went against hospital  policy and decided to place both  babies in the same incubator.  She left the twin girls to sleep and  when when she returned she found  a sight she could not believe. She  called all the nurses and doctors  and this is what they saw.  As Brielle got closer to her sister,  Kyrie put her small little arm around  her, as if to hug and support her  sister. From that moment on,  Brielle’s breathing and heart rate  stabilized and her health became  normal.  Share the pic to show the world how  a little bit of tender love and  affection can save someone's Life.  ~ DeAnna Lee
(These preemie twin girls survived — a Facebook posting on the healing power of touch.)
Save the date for the May meeting: TUESDAY May 13: Green Burial & Cremation.

You are warmly invited to ARS MORIENDE, a day of reflection: The Art of Dying (Well) Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. Contact Bonnie Steele at 763 400 7209 or bsteele@sjtw.net.

Cost: $20 includes lunch

A chance to learn about Conscious Dying, Family-Directed After-Death Care, and many other topics.  MTN members Carolyn Laine and  Kyoko Katayama will be presenting.
St Joseph the Worker Catholic Church
7180 Hemlock Ln N,
Maple Grove, MN 55369

The next Meeting of the Minnesota Threshold Network is Monday, March 10, 7pm at the home of Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan, 21 E. Rustic Lodge Ave., Minneapolis.

Focus of the meeting is the Conversation: how to discuss with our loved ones our wishes for end-of-life care and/or after-death care. People can prepare by going to Ellen Goodman’s Conversation Project, downloading the starter kit, and taking it to the meeting.

A secondary focus will be publicizing the June 10, 2014, 7pm annual MTN free public forum: Home-Based After Death Care: What is it? Why would anyone want to do it? with guest speaker Elizabeth Knox. Location to be announced.

Elizabeth Knox is president of the National Home Funeral Alliance and executive director of Crossings: Caring for Our Own, a national home funeral and green burial resource center. Elizabeth came to the love and wonder of home funeral work through personal loss. Since her daughter’s death, she has been an advocate for the healing power of home-based after-death care, teaching workshops internationally for the last 15 years, and establishing self-sufficient home funeral support circles in communities across the U.S.

So why would we choose a home funeral? Elizabeth Knox points to several considerations:

The Healing Power of Caring for Our Own Dead: What is the single most prevalent fear for humans? Death. And what is the single most healing act available to humans? Love. In caring for our departed as an act of love, we are able to transform our deepest fear.

Serving the Dead: We honor the vessel, the body of our beloved. We disturb it as little as possible. We tend to it with respect, and as if it is still inhabited by the one we love.

Serving the Families of the Dead: We believe that no one can better tend to our departed than those who have known and loved them. We give permission to care for a beloved family member. We offer truth in dispelling the misunderstandings that surround death care. We give the family guideposts on an unfamiliar path.

Serving the Earth: We stand for a return to simplicity in funeral care, transforming the need for the consumption of hard materials to bury in the earth—the concrete liners, the formaldehyde, the steel, the rare hardwood from the rainforest —and the fossil fuels consumed for cremation. We actually give something back to the earth when we are buried in it directly.

We know that caring for our own dead is not for everyone, but families should know that they have the choice. We can bring death care back into the home, where it began, and to our way of thinking, where it belongs. If we send our dead off to an institutional setting, those who love them best are not directly involved in their care and cannot bear witness to the transformation that happens when we care for our own.

The gentle but radical home funeral/green burial movement stands for the healing power of caring for our own departed. We serve the dead. We serve the families of the dead. We serve the Earth. We believe that no less than the healing of our society is at stake.

Minutes of the Minnesota Threshold Network Meeting February 10, 2014

Six were present on this bitterly cold night.

We watched clips from the French film, Amour, which chronicles the decline and death of an elderly woman cared for by her husband in their own apartment. Our conversation focused on the intimacy of the death journey, and how each individual/family response to it is personal and unique. This reinforced the awareness of the need to begin early to talk about choices, and to begin disengaging with life now. All agreed that hospice can contribute to dignity and quality of life when introduced earlier in the journey.

WGBH in Boston has a great 9-minute video and article on growing interest in home death care.

A quote from the piece:

“It’s nice to be able to spend time with the body even though the spirit is already gone,” she said. “It’s just the shell. But you can still grieve for yourself.”

Photo by Peg Lorenz via WGBH.

9 in attendance.

Twin Cities Funeral Providers Price Survey

Larry Espel, Jody Bystrom, and Tom Koberstein from the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Minnesota presented on their 2013 general price list survey of local funeral service providers. The whole survey is available at the FCAMN website.

The FCA board collected 80 general price lists to create the price list survey. They highlighted the most economical options in each of 6 categories and “compared apples to apples” in organizing the survey.

The presenters reminded us that the survey reflects one point in time. The FCA encourages consumers to call for ourselves to verify current prices and confirm green/home options.

Representative Carolyn Laine has proposed a change to Minnesota Statutes, section 149A.71, subdivision 2, which would require funeral service providers who maintain a website to make their general price list available on the website. Federal law already requires that providers maintain gpls and provide them to anyone who asks. Representative Laine’s bill is H.F. 1988, and you can track its progress via the MyBills feature at the Legislative website.

Other items of note:

  • Does MTN need a mission statement?
  • We want to connect with/hear from our outstate members more! What are you up to?
  • Our June library event might focus on green burial.
  • Minnesota funeral homes are no longer required to have an embalming room in every branch

Upcoming Events

Sunday, January 19: Death Café at Common Roots

Monday, February 10, 7:00 pm: MTN movie night at Marianne Dietzel’s home (2954 Hamline Ave, Roseville). Clips from Amour, winner of the 2013 Oscar for best foreign film. Hospice workers and volunteers will share their end-of-life experiences and perspectives on death.

The Funeral Consumers Alliance national biennial conference will be held in Bloomington, MN this June 5-7!

Ars Moriendi : Day of Reflection on the Art of Dying Well
Saturday, January 11th, 2014.  8 AM- 3 PM
St. Joseph the Worker
7180 Hemlock Ln N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
COST:  $20 for day,includes lunch
Contact Bonnie Steele at 763-400-7209 or bsteele@sjtw.net with questions or to register!
Workshops will include: exploring end of life medical interventions, caring for your loved one after death, home visitations, natural burials & cremation, palliative care, financial planning, how to choose a health care agent, creating an ethical will, and hospice care.
MTN members Carolyn Laine and Linda Bergh will be presenting a workshop on Home Funerals and Green Burials.

You are invited to come and learn about how to plan for your loved or for yourself!

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