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Issue #10: Working With Faith Communities


1. Engaging the Faith Community

2. Call on our Outreach Associates for Help

3. Getting the Faith Community Actively Involved

4. Got Ideas? Share Them!

5. A Model Steering Committee


End of life and the faith community are intricately intertwined. Frequently, it is the clergy to whom the dying and their families turn for comfort, support and guidance and it is your faith community which hosts the celebration of the deceased’s life. Their mandate to "minister" to those in need provides your steering committee with a natural partner. It is important to look for ways to integrate the faith community into your outreach effort.

Faith-based institutions in your community reach a large and diverse audience. Invite representatives from all of them to join your steering committee. Invite one another’s views of the faith community’s unique role in our dying process and share ideas for how to utilize their special skills and insights to improve the care of the dying. Brainstorm ways that the faith community can play a significant role in this movement. Find out if there are any umbrella groups for the faith community (such as Faith In Action) and discuss how they can expand the dialogue.


ondering how to broaden the diversity on your steering committee? Take a look at the Leadership Guide. It features a list of our Outreach Associates – over 60 national membership organizations– many of them faith-based – who pledged to commit their local chapters to this effort. Give them a call or send an email to see if any of their members are in your community. They may help you round out the profile of the faith-based organizations on your steering committee, and will give you access to the members of other membership organizations as well. Find contact information for these partners at: onourownterms/out/leader_guide/ planning3.html

And, always remember that you can contact the outreach team for help!


There are many ways you can get the faith community actively involved in the outreach surrounding this series. Ask the faith institutions in your community to participate in a Compassion Sabbath Weekend, dedicating liturgy and services, sermons and homilies to engage and educate their congregations about end-of-life issues. To learn more about the concept of Compassion Sabbath, read about it online, at:

You might want to organize a discussion group of interested people from different faiths and watch the series together, discussing after each show how each person interpreted the end-of-life messages and how the faith communities can work together to improve care of the dying. Above all, ask them to involve their membership in the effort. The Leadership Guide is full of ideas for involving the faith community. Read it online at: onourownterms/out/leader_guide/ taking4_6.html

And, also check out the resource section in the Leadership Guide for some wonderful materials geared specifically toward the faith community at: onourownterms/out/leader_guide/ tools10.html


Perhaps you have coordinated community activities within faith-based groups before. Or maybe you have great faith-diversity on your steering committee already and you would like to share with others how you created such a diverse group. Go to our discussion forums and share your wisdom; or, ask any questions you might have. Visit the discussion boards at:


Please remember to assign a member of your steering committee to post your activities on the discussion boards! We would love to highlight your steering committee in an upcoming issue. This issue’s model steering committee hails from California. This state is really coalescing around this series, using their state discussion forum as a way to share information with others and bring together those who want to make a difference in end of life care. Forum3/HTML/000001.html

Remember that the discussion forums have been created for your use. Use the boards to post information on what your steering committee is doing and watch your steering committee grow with others who are interested in making a difference!