February 2016 Link Round-Up

The Winter 2016 newsletter of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Minnesota is now available on their website.  To read it, go to the FCA of MN home page.


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From the Rochester Area Chapter of the Minnesota Threshold Network:

All welcome! Free Will Donation 

You’ve lived a green life – but did you know it is now possible to carry your environmentally-conscious living into your end of life plans?  Green burial is a natural alternative to resource-intensive conventional burial and cremation. Through an informational presentation, video clips of other’s experiences and discussion, we will explore the topic of green burial. Learn the definition, benefits and legalities of green burial, as well as what local resources are available to support your choice to die green

February 16, 2016, 6:30-8:30pm, Dying to be Green, Assisi Heights Spirituality Center, 1001 14th St.NW, Rochester, MNDefinition, benefits, and legalities of green burial, as well as local resources available to support the choice to die green. Presented by the Rochester Area Chapter of the MTN. To register call (507) 280-2195.

Thanks to Deah Kinion, the Rochester Chapter now has a presence on Face Book.  It is a public page, so you don’t have to be a member of FB to access it.  Please “like” it and then invite all your friends to like it too.   Here is the link:



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Late Life: A Conversation with Atul Gawande 


Episode: Dr. Atul Gawande, author of “Being Mortal,” shares his vision of healthcare that helps people live well to the end.

Upcoming Broadcast Dates:

  • Sunday, Feb 7| 1:00 a.m. CT (channel: TPTMN)
  • Sunday, Feb 7| 7:00 a.m. CT (channel: TPTMN)
  • Sunday, Feb 7| 1:00 p.m. CT (channel: TPTMN)”


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The Mary Hanson Show: Special Mini-Series for Black History Month, tpt 2-2, the MN Channel, Mondays at 10AM, 4 PM, 10 PM and 4 AM

 March 21 – Preparing for End of Life Healthcare Decisions – Guest:  Anne Elizabeth Denny, Consultant, speaker and author of My Voice, My Choice


MTN at MNHP conference

The Minnesota Threshold Network was a presence at the Minnesota Hospice and Palliative Care conference, April 19-21 in Bloomington. MTN shared an exhibitor table with the Funeral Consumers’ Alliance of Minnesota, with Anne Murphy and Heather Ferguson volunteer staffing for MTN and Jody Bystrum for FCA. Anne, Heather, and Jody spoke with many nurses, social workers, and volunteers and encouraged them to get to know utilize our organizations as a resource.  Anne reports that it was a very receptive crowd, and many of them commented that they are noticing that people are wanting to find ways to honor and celebrate life in new ways.

Our thanks to Anne and Heather for staffing the table, to FCA for the table-sharing arrangement, and to everyone who stopped by to talk about this important work.


partnering to share knowledge and resources!
Jody Bystrum and Anne Murphy at the MNHP conference.

Correction 5/8/15: our table was staffed by Anne Murphy and Heather Ferguson! Thanks, Heather.

Meeting Minutes of January 13, 2014

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!

January 2014 meeting: Funeral home price lists.

The next Minnesota Threshold Network meeting will be Monday, January 13, 7:00 pm, at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. Minneapolis. 612-927-0894. Funeral Consumer’s Alliance of Minnesota board members will share their recent price survey of 80 Twin Cities Funeral homes and discuss common interests, including asking funeral homes to post prices on their websites. On January 1, 2013, California became the first state to enact this requirement.

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Minnesota upcoming event


When: Saturday, October 12, 2013, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM
Where: Roseville Public Library, 2180 North Hamline Ave., Roseville, MN
The meeting is open to the public. There is ample and convenient parking.

Two presentations will follow a brief business meeting:

A Jewish Way of Caring for the Dead
Before there was a natural (Green) funeral movement there were groups who, following ancient spiritual practices, were caring for their own dead. One such local group is Adath Jeshurun Jewish Congregation’s Chevra Kavod Hamet (Hebrew for Society to Honor the Dead), in Minnetonka, MN. The Chevra/Society was founded over 30 years ago to provide support to bereaved families, and to honor the deceased by providing a traditional Jewish funeral which is simple, dignified, and at a modest cost. While Chevra practices are rooted in Jewish belief and ritual, they demonstrate ways that other faith communities, families, and groups can share in the task of caring for our dead. Cindy Dubansky, co-administrator of the Chevra, will be our speaker.

2013 Funeral Home Price Survey
Did you know that the cost of various services offered by funeral homes differs from place to place? Ever wonder how costs among funeral homes compare? Over the past few months Funeral Consumers Alliance of MN board members collected over 80 funeral home general price lists (GPLs) from the greater Twin Cities area and created comparison charts. A member of the board will walk us through the Price Survey, talk about what we learned in the process, and show you how to be an informed “consumer” of funeral home products and services.

The Mission of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Minnesota is education and advocacy for dignified, affordable after-death arrangements in the 21st century.