Earlier this month, board member Shelby McBride had a conversation with members Willow Kelly & Rev. Kate Adamson about their newly formed Community Care Group in Central Virginia.
End of Life Doula, Willow Kelly and Interfaith Minister, Rev. Kate Adamson of Central Virginia came together in June of 2019 to brainstorm ways they could collaborate in death care. Partially inspired by the recent unexpected passing of Kate’s stepson and the beautiful home funeral experience that followed, they both felt called to explore ways to deepen their involvement in this work together.
Click here to listen to Kate’s home funeral story on a recent episode of our podcast, A Path Home, “Farewell to a Gentle Giant."
Relatively new to the NHFA, Willow and Kate each felt compelled to attend the biennial conference held in Chaska, Minnesota and decided to share the journey there together.
They were deeply inspired by everything they experienced in Chaska, with all of the classes attended, the connections made and rich conversations that were enjoyed. Willow found she was especially inspired by the work of our friends in the Minnesota Threshold Network, who contributed greatly to the atmosphere and learning opportunities offered at the conference, including the 3 day mock vigil. They left the conference impassioned, with a laser focus.
Kate and Willow knew they wanted to build a community around this profound work, starting with the people they already knew and expanding where called. There was an escalation of kismet as things began to unfold naturally, with ease and grace. Their community care group was lovingly birthed as they began offering support to their own community.
They held a Death Salon event in November 2019, attended by over a dozen participants, in which several thoughtful activities were shared to help connect those present to one another, to invite them to consider the role that death plays in their own lives and to drop deeply into their own individual connections with the earth. Information on local resources were shared, along with an invitation to join the group, to volunteer or to offer donations of specific equipment that a home funeral group might use, such as massage tables and other home funeral supplies. There was an opportunity to give constructive feedback about the whole experience and to sign up for the newsletter. This event was followed by an advance directive meet and complete style presentation, helping several people complete their own documents.
Still fresh in its infancy, Threshold Services of Central Virginia, is working to develop their educational programming, actively seeking out new volunteers and outlining their plan of action on what they’d like to bring to their local community. Willow shared she believes this work is “so very urgent, environmentally, spiritually and metaphysically.” A proponent of encouraging earth friendly burial practices, Willow asks us to consider how “our bodies can either be a blessing to the earth, or a curse,” and to choose consciously.
Threshold Services of Central Virginia will continue holding educational meetings, and offering other relevant, helpful community education, including an upcoming Death Box Playshop, as a complement to the 10 session Community Care Group program outlined in the book, Undertaken With Love by Holly Stevens. Their activities will also include family directed home funeral workshops and of course, support for local home funeral families in their time of need. You can find event listings and contact their group online at https://www.facebook.com/thresholdva .