Park behind the chapel and join us at the top of the hill. Come rain or shine, as there are indoor options for our picnic.
After sharing our evening meal, we will begin to enact how one might conduct a green burial, with everyone participating in a procession carrying a volunteer “body” wrapped in a shroud to a burial spot. Learn from experienced practitioners some of the songs and poems that accompany such sacred events.
We will then hear from Larry Hudella, Superintendent of Roselawn Cemetery. Roselawn recently began offering natural burial without a vault, with no embalming and a biodegradable casket or shroud. We’ll also hear from MTN’s own State Representative Carolyn Laine, who will clarify the legal aspects of home death care and green burial. Q&A time will follow.
We met at Linda Bergh’s house. Thanks as always to Linda for being such a gracious hostess. 16 people were in attendance.
We watched Carolyn Laine’s excellent PowerPoint presentation on home funerals and green disposition. The presentation included an excerpt from Nancy Jewel Poer’s documentary The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman. A lively discussion followed, touching on steps that MTN, as individual members and as a group, may want to take to ensure that funeral directors and others who deal with end-of-life issues professionally know the law and give accurate information to funeral consumers.
Perhaps the most important take-away from Carolyn’s presentation is this:
“For a body to be embalmed, the family must agree to relinquish their legal right to natural death care. It is the family’s right by law to be in control of the care of their loved one.“
What a wonderful and empowering message!
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 13, 2015.
Happy whatever-you-celebrate, and a joyous New Year!
At the upcoming MTN December meeting, State Representative Carolyn Laine will speak about natural burials. Carolyn has given her PowerPoint presentation to 32 groups around Minnesota. Here’s a chance for local members to see it and share personal stories.
December 9, 2014, 7-9pm, at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. Minneapolis. 612-927-0894. Free and open to all. Look for the EARTH FLAG flying from the front porch and twinkly lights.
Mark your calendars for upcoming MTN 2014-2015 monthly meetings, all on Tuesdays: October – 14 – Movie night: A Will for the WoodsNovember 11 – Green Burials: the principles and the practicalities — with managers of local green cemeteries December 9 – Story night – A mortician’s experiences with natural burials plus State Rep. Carolyn Laine’s PowerPoint presentation January 13 – Death and Cookies – an open discussion about all aspects of death February 10 – Movie night: This Dewdrop World, connecting a personal death to planetary loss. March 10 – Preparing for death, advance directives, The Conversation(s), advance funeral planning April 14 – Looking at Caregiver Loss after an anticipated death May 12 – Story night: recent home vigils – Practicalities, challenges, benefits, and affects on the grieving process June annual forum TBA
This has been a busy week for the Minnesota Threshold Network!
Last Friday through Sunday was the national conference of the Funeral Consumer’s Alliance. The headline speaker was Caitlin Dougherty, pictured below, of “Ask a Mortician” You Tube fame. Her website Order of the Good Death has garnered lots of views and her whimsical yet down-to-earth presentations can be a gateway for people seeking information and alternatives to the commercialized funeral industry.
One exciting aspect of the conference was to experience the close bonds that are forming between the local chapter of FCA and MTN. We share a lot of the same goals, and it was inspiring to be around so many people committed to bringing choices to the American public. For more information about the local chapter, go to the new Minnesota FCA website
On Tuesday, MTN held our annual public forum, featuring for the first time, a national leader. Elizabeth Knox, President of the National Home Funeral Alliance, spoke about the healing power of caring for our own at death, honoring the dead by disturbing their body as little as possible, and the ways that death care nourishes our spirit, our culture, and our Earth. Almost 90 people attended the presentation at Macalester Plymouth United Church in St. Paul.
Thursday evening MTN member Anne Murphy of A Thousand Hands organized the showing of the award-winning documentary movie A Will for the Woods at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul. Some of the 45 attendees stayed afterwards to participate in discussion groups about the film and natural burial.
Finally, this week MTN was contacted by members in Rochester and Bemidji who would like to form local Threshold Networks. Anyone who is interested in helping launch these outstate organizations is welcome. Just send an email to MTN or attend the MTN meeting in Rochester at the People’s Co-op on Monday, August 25 at 7:00 pm. For information contact Char Tarashanti at 507-289-0720.
Meanwhile, no meetings are planned in the Twin Cities for the summer. We will resume regular monthly meetings in September. A Will for the Woods will be shown at a fall meeting. Meeting dates and locations to follow.
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
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.
Do you know what the 2010 Family Rights After Death Legislation allows for more environmental, economical, and ritualistic options at the death of a loved one?
Learn more with Rep. Carolyn Laine, MN State Representative (who sponsored the law) and Nancy Manahan, Ph.D., (teacher and author of Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully) who represent Minnesota Threshold Network, providing education on conscious dying, home-after-death care and natural final disposition.
Monday, December 9, Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community, Upper Room, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Rep. Carolyn Laine and Nancy Manahan gave a presentation at Two Harbors Public Library on September 26, 2013, about home funerals and green burials. The event drew an attentive audience of 40 people who had many questions. The Lake County News Chronicle published an article featuring Carolyn and Nancy: http://www.twoharborsmn.com/event/article/id/25443/. It is clear that interest in green burials is growing.
The next day, Carolyn, Nancy, and Becky Bohan visited the Duluth Casket Shop at the invitation of the proprietor Jude Collins, who makes a range of caskets and urns, some appropriate for green burials. She also offers handmade shrouds, one which can been seen hanging on the wall behind Nancy and Jude. Jude does education on natural burial and is encouraging owners of Duluth cemeteries to accommodate green burials. For more information about her company, see www.duluthcasketshopmn.com.