Grave Talk
CHP

Price varies
4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

A café space to talk about death, dying and funerals.

Gravetalk is a simple way to help people in your community get together and talk about death, dying and funerals in the relaxed easy context of a café space. It has been tried and tested over the past two years and proved successful and popular.

Used alongside the GraveTalk Cards, this Facilitator’s Guide is designed to help you set up and run a GraveTalk event and includes:

  • Practical advice for before, during and after a GraveTalk event.
  • A reflection on death and dying.
  • Practical information about the arrangements that need to be made when someone dies.
  • A short article on grief and a list of useful websites and books.

GraveTalk is part of the Church of England’s work around funerals and dying. For more information visit www.gravetalk.org.

What do you get?

A5 booklet facilitator’s guide (£3.99). Pack of glossy A6 postcards (£12.99). One downloadable question sheet for participants. Backup website: www.gravetalk.org.

Guide contents:

  • Welcome
  • What you need to do to hold a GraveTalk event
  • Take away sheet for participants to keep
  • Theological reflections on death and dying
  • Practical information
  • Understanding grief
  • Useful websites
  • Books

Cards have questions grouped under:

  • Life – what makes it special for you?
  • Death – memories and experience.
  • Society – how our culture deals with death.
  • Funerals – what happens and what could happen.
  • Grief – the reality of loss.

Different number of cards for each subject, with Life and Death having thirteen cards each, and others fewer.

GraveTalk posters and postcards are available at www.churchprinthub.org.

Who is it for?

Seen as a resource for those of ‘all faiths and doubts’, and an opportunity to welcome any member of the surrounding community in to a helpful event. Older youth, adults, small groups. Relevant for serving surrounding community.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    A brilliantly-conceived resource for talking about death and dying in a safe and easy way – for Christians and the local community they serve.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    This is designed as a one-off event rather than a course. Very clear aims of making it possible to talk about death in a relaxed and resourceful way, based around questions on the cards. Not seen directly as an evangelistic resource, but could naturally lead to this.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Facilitators' booklet is brief, clear and to the point. It emphasises the need to have thought through the issues for oneself first, and made careful, sensitive preparations. Structure of an evening event is suggested, with timings: Set up; arrival; Welcome, prayer and introduction to GraveTalk; Groups and card use; Regathering and shared reflection; Short prayer or worship. Text suggested for the opening and closing prayers, and the introduction. There is some background material on Practical information: What to do when someone dies – that includes everything from arranging a funeral to notifications and post mortems. There is also a chapter on the process of grief which is great, plus the closing chapters with recommended websites and books.

    Who could lead it?

    Resource recommends that both a facilitator and host would be ideal, and that neither have to be ordained. Both need to be comfortable with the subject, with enabling discussion, and with putting people at their ease.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Cards are brilliant, with great questions on them – very good conversation starters. It would be better if the participants had also the Practical Information on what to do when someone dies, as it is an excellent summary. However, see notes on website support.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A

    How much prep will I have to do?

    This is sensitive subject for us all, in many different ways, so careful preparation would be good. One suggestion is that the resource is backed up with a sermon series or other focus on death and dying.

    Is there website support? Links?

    www.gravetalk.org. This is an excellent backup website, designed for both leaders and participants, with some really helpful information and care around the subject of death, sickness, dying and funerals. Stories, photos and FAQs are included.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Looks like it can't fail to spark good conversations, enabling groups to talk about the most difficult subject in safe and helpful ways.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Would suit a low-literacy audience through to the most sophisticated. Simple concept would work for all. Hosting well would be critical.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Simple concept would work for all. Hosting well would be critical.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    This is a one-off event; it would be up to those putting it on to ensure good follow up links with people where wanted, and invitations to keep in touch. Subsequent events are strongly encouraged.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    There is a helpful and concise summary of Christian thought and theology on the subject in the facilitator's guide.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    References to relevant texts are scattered through the three pages of ‘Theological Reflections on Death and Dying'.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    There is a nod towards the breadth of Christian thoughts around the afterlife, and the necessity of faith for salvation, but the reflection is largely a very clear and minimal summary of the foundational Christian basic beliefs about life and death.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    This is a resource seen as ‘part of the Church of England's work around funerals and dying.'

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Given that this resource is one-off, designed for those of ‘all faiths and doubts', and revolves around a single topic, it should inspire Christians towards including a realistic view of death into their discipleship journey.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Talking informally around the topic of death, but in accessible ways, will help everyone to grow – whatever their starting place.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    One of the strengths of this deceptively simple resource is that it should stretch faith and vision for both Christians and others, by providing a safe opportunity to engage with a challenging subject.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Death is the ultimate shared experience; the hope would be that Christians will be encouraged that they have the resources to face it, and those outside the Christian world will find out more about the Christian hope, as well as processing thoughts and feelings already there.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not seen directly as an evangelistic resource, but would naturally lead to this. Although the emphasis is on making this an event that anyone could attend, the context is still firmly Christian.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Looks like an inspired way of connecting with the community in a very helpful way; could create some great new relationships, and would certainly be an easy avenue for further invitations and conversations.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Death is global; but it would depend on the direction that conversations took. The opportunity to discuss ‘big' catastrophic events is there, although the focus is on engaging with the death of oneself, and loved ones.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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