End of Life Working Group
The End of Life Working Group is under the care of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee. The formation of the Working Group was announced at Sixth Month 2019 Interim Meeting (I2019-24).
The Working Group has updated their charge. The current text is available below.
Many of us are attempting to cope with our fears and concerns regarding the impact of Covid-19 on our lives and the lives of our family and friends. The coronavirus has created the imminent possibility that we or people we love may die and/or become gravely ill. Given the uncertainty during this time, we are encouraging people to have, what could be, difficult conversations in anticipation of their deaths. For you and your loved ones, it will be time well-spent.
At some point, we hope, we will return to our lives with less fear, and a breath of normalcy. With both the current reality and that of a future one, we wish to offer some assistance in helping Friends to begin preparing for the death and dying process.
In 2019, the BYM End-of-Life working group was formed. Our purpose was to create and gather Late-life and End-of-Life resources to share with you, some of which are included on this website. Attached you will find resources and queries to inform your “difficult conversations.”
Of special note is the 2018 workbook created by the Langley Hill Friends Meeting entitled Planning for, and Coping with Decline and Death. It includes Advance Directives, property planning, planning forms such as the MOLST and POST forms, and how to acquire Powers of Attorney forms. This comprehensive binder also has bibliographies and relevant resources as well as writings on the spiritual aspects of preparing for decline and death.
Additionally, we have gathered a series of queries to guide your explorations about what matters most to you when in the final stages of life. We suggest you have a conversation about these queries with your family and/or friends. These conversations will empower them to know your wishes. And, it would be wise to write your requests in your Advance Directive, which you can also give to your doctor, family, and if possible, upload onto CRISP (see “Resources”).
The queries mentioned above are wide-ranging. They range from “Getting Older: Do my loved ones know what is important to me, where my papers are, and who does what? …to queries about my death and its aftermath: Do I want to prepare for what follows my death? Are there any special rituals I want others to do after I die?”
Finally, we will be looking to local Meetings for guidance on how we can work together and be of assistance to you in your questions and comments about Late-life and End-of-Life issues. Let us know what you think and need! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listed below are the current members of the working group.
Martha "Marcy" Baker Seitel, Convener
Adelphi Friends Meeting
Midlothian Friends Meeting
Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run
Patricia "Patti" Nesbitt
Sandy Spring Friends Meeting
Robert "Bob" Rhudy
Patapsco Friends Meeting
Eileen StanzionePatapsco Friends Meeting
John SurrCharlottesville Friends Meeting
Working Group Charge
- Make resources available to Monthly Meetings that focus on all aspects of preparing for and experiencing the last months of one's life, including resources for those who are care-takers and those who will survive the person at end of life.
- Maintain a webpage where links to resources can be posted.
- Learn what resources local Meetings are finding useful and let other Meetings know about them.
- Organize workshops for BYM Friends to be presented at Annual Session, other gatherings of the Yearly Meeting, Quarterly Meetings, and local Meetings.
- Visit Meetings to provide a “listening ear” for Meetings that are dealing with end-of-life issues among their members and attenders.
- Keep track of and offer statements about end-of-life legislation in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and D.C. as appropriate.
- Propose minutes and reports to BYM on areas within its scope of concern as appropriate.
Two things are important to note:
The Peace and Social Concern Committee suggests that the Working Group would benefit rom having a liaison from the BYM Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee.
When this Working Group was formed, it had a more limited focus, but now would like to include also issues related to aging and care for those who are ill.