March Twin Cities Event: Readers Theater

The March Minnesota Threshold Network Twin Cities event will take place on
Monday, March 9, 2020 (please note that this is a different day of the week than usual!)
Falcon Heights Church, United Church of Christ
1795 Holton St (click for map)
Falcon Heights, MN 55113
This Reader’s Theater has been edited for the Minnesota Threshold Network after its debut in NY as a part of a national conference. Come hear how individual community members reflect on their part in the holding of the two teenagers, Nina and Kirsten, and their families in 1996 in Harlemville, NY – both the time leading up to the car accident and throughout the home vigil and the following days. The girls’ parents, Linda Bergh, Marianne and Dennis Dietzel will be present and read their parts. Linda and Marianne are founding members of MTN.

MTN March
All MTN events are free and open to the public. Donations from the heart are always welcome and help pay for brochure printing and venue rental.

Accessibility and Parking at the Falcon Heights Church:

  • The meeting is on the main floor, with the entrance to building accessible via sidewalk from the curb.
  • One gender-neutral/accessible bathroom and two single-gender bathrooms available on main floor.
  • There is ample parking in lot across the street, including disability spots.

October Meeting: Regional Threshold Conversation; Saturday, October 15

In place of a regular Tuesday or Wednesday night meeting, we will have a regional gathering of advocates for home funerals and green burials. Home funeral activists from the Twin Cities, Rochester, Northfield, Brainerd, and Wisconsin will share visions, challenges, and plans. All are welcome.

Date: Saturday, October 15, at 10amPotluck lunch to follow.
Place: home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. S. Minneapolis 55410 (follow link for map). Phone: 612-325-2775.

gettin' stuff done
Photo from the MTN 2015 summer planning meeting. Probably taken by Becky Bohan

Twin Cities December Meeting: Bringing Art into the Conversation about Death

Please join us on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 for an evening of heart-centered sharing about death and dying through poetry, music, and expressive exercises.
art and death
“In taking from us a being we have loved and venerated, death does not wound us without, at the same time, lifting us toward a more perfect understanding of this being and of ourselves.” —Rilke
Linda Bergh and Kyoko Katayama, MTN members, will guide this evening in exploring and sharing each others’ hopes and fears. We invite you to share a poem or image that has moved you.
Gathering will begin at 7pm at the home of Kyoko Katayama, 1474 Branston St., St. Paul, MN 55108 (Como Ave. Exit off 280, then off Como Ave – up the hill on Hendon near Luther Seminary) Phone: 651 485 7557.
MTN meetings are free and open to all.

MTN “Caring for Our Own” workshop largest ever

Twenty people attended the all-day “Caring for Our Own” workshop on November 22, taught by three Minnesota Threshold Network home funeral guides. In MTN’s six years of offering after-death care workshops, this was the largest!

After check-ins, the morning began with guided rememberings of death in our lives, as children and as adults. Anne Murphy presented a brief history of after-death care in the US. Linda Bergh guided the group in becoming more aware of the specialness of this sacred time in the hours and days after a beloved has died. Kyoko Katayama shared the poignant story of her husband’s death, care, and home vigil. 

Anne led the afternoon session by demonstrating step-by-step practical care of the body, with Linda and Kyoko adding stories to illustrate the uniqueness of each experience, as well as the unifying theme of bringing comfort and meaning to families.  Many connections were made as the participants opened to this powerful topic and became a community for the day.

Workshop participants prepare a gracious volunteer “corpse” for disposition. Beautiful cloths and flowers offer one last chance to show love and care for our beloved dead.

It was a day of soul care as well as body care. As one person wrote on the evaluation, “I got a great sense of what after-death body care really is.”  Another participant commented, “The stories made the day’s experience so authentic.”  Another said, “I’m going home and writing out what I would like done for me when I die.”
Several people have asked when MTN will offer another workshop. Fortunately the presenters enjoyed working together and found it a good mix of backgrounds, experience, and interest. It’s likely they’ll be doing another workshop. The topics most requested on the evaluation forms were:

  • Green burials
  • Being with the dying
  • Minnesota laws (Come to the Dec. 9 MTN meeting for this!)
  • Facing our mortality
  • Home vigils

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.

MTN Movie Night: Passing Through Our Hands

We will have movie night on Monday, October 21, 2013, 7 pm, at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave, Minneapolis, 612-927-0894. We will be screening Passing Through Our Hands: Home Funeral Care Guide, a documentary on after-death care of the body. Most of us have few opportunities to learn how to care for a body; this short film gives step-by-step instructions on how to do that in a simple, dignified, and loving way.

“Passing Through Our Hands” starts when the person dies and covers how to wash the body, dress and lay out the body, hold a vigil, and move the body into a coffin. It includes a link to guidelines and written instructions in addition to the video training.

If you would like a copy, visit Passing Through Our Hands. Cost is $15.

MTN Movie Night: The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman

The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack HeckelmanThe Minnesota Threshold Network is hosting a screening of The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman on Monday, August 5, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.

This documentary of what Jack called “my last great adventure” shows footage of community and family support including his casket being made by a niece, family and friends gathering to say farewell, and care for him after death in a three-day home vigil.

It was Jack’s wish that this film be his legacy of hope and encouragement for all people, to empower them with choices for their own dying.

The event will be held at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave South Minneapolis 55410. An open discussion will follow. The event is open to the public. An RSVP is helpful, but anyone welcome without notice.

FFI, contact Linda Bergh at hellolindabergh @ gmail . com or 612-927-0894

Large Turn-Out for Community Forum

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!

Next up: 

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 or 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.