Almost fifty people attended the June 29, 2010 Minnesota Threshold Network forum on home care of the deceased and green burials. Minnesota State Rep. Carolyn Laine summarized the new law taking effect August 1st, 2010, including the right to hold a public visitation of an unembalmed body, use dry ice instead of embalming for up to four days, have minors present, and have flexible transportation options. Linda Bergh (Beholding the Threshold) and Heather Halen shared their personal experiences with home funeral vigils, and Theresa Purcell (Trust for Natural Legacies) explained green burial practices. John “Chip Fort” (Green Graves) shared his plan to open Prairie Oaks natural cemetery in Inver Grove Heights. Steve Willwerscheid of Willwerscheid Natural Burial and Cremation in St. Paul was introduced.
Both the high attendance and the many thoughtful questions indicate an increasing interest in home death care and green burials. At least four ministers attended, signaling potential religious interest in alternatives to conventional, professional care of the dead.
Thank you to the MTN members who brought delicious treats to share!
July 18, 2010: Book launch for MTN member Marianne Dietzel’s Laughing in a Waterfall: A Mother’s Memoir, the inspiring story of Marianne’s daughter, Nina, who died in a car accident with her best friend, Kirsten Bergh. The book chronicles the post-death rituals of care for the girls, the memorial services, and how the family survived the loss. This engrossing memoir offers insights into how to create a new culture around the threshold of death. Minnesota Waldorf School, 3-6 pm. Free.
July 24: Life Rearrangements: Spiritual Legacy Class at the Center for Wholeness, by MTN member Penelope Martin. The class covers ways to leave your family, friends, and others your ideals, memories, wishes, and values that you want passed down. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. 4506 Valley View Road, Edina, MN. $20.
August 25: Screening of The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman, a 70-minute documentary about the conscious dying and home death care of a global environmental and peace activist from Minneapolis. Jack’s wife Linda Bergh will introduce the movie and answer questions. 7 pm at Southdale Library. Free.
September 11: A half-day home-death care training for Minnesota Threshold Network members. Details forthcoming.
September 21: Minnesota Threshold Network general meeting at the home of Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan (21 East Rustic Lodge Ave., Minneapolis 55419) to discuss outreach, education, training, future film screenings, etc. Open to all. Free.
October 8-10: Second annual National Home Funeral Alliance Conference, Boulder, CO. Keynote speaker, Josefine Speyer of the Natural Death Centre in the UK. Register online. October 7 pre-conference workshop by national home-death educators Beth Knox (Crossings), Jerrigrace Lyons (Final Passages), and Karen van Vuuren (Natural Transitions). Discounts for early-bird sign ups.