Monthly Archives: April 2015

Talking about Death & Dying

On Palm Sunday Broadstreeters gathered in Palmer Hall at 9:45 to talk about a challenging subject: Death and Dying. This was not a first run through; in the last 18 months we have addressed this topic at least four times. Each time the conversation has been nourishing, meaningful, and provocative.

On Palm Sunday, we focused on our desire to have honest conversations with our families about the reality of death and the process of dying. We identified some reasons it is hard to have such conversations:

  •    It’s easier to postpone the conversation for another day
  •    When we talk about death, we leave uncertainty behind
  •    Talking about death suggests that death may be imminent
  •    Talking about death is raw, emotional – and who needs that?
  •    We are uncomfortable with the topic

In all of our classes on the topic of death and dying we heard from experts* and each other that everyone benefits when such honest conversations take place. We explored the idea that the church might be well positioned to play a role in suggesting and hosting such conversations. At the heart of the Christian story is a story about life and death. The Bible acknowledges the reality of death and offers the promise of a life to come. Our confessions and creeds make the claim that in life and in death we belong to God. And death is a regular part of our life together as a community of faith. The church has a unique role in ushering a person from this life into the life to come.

At the Palm Sunday class we sought input around a modest proposal. What if the church were to offer to host family conversations about death? The request could come from any member of the church community.   We would develop a standardized list of questions that could be shared. The person who requests the conversation can decide which family members they want to invite into the room. There would be no pre-determined outcome. The representative of the church would be present to invite conversation. That representative might be pastor, Stephen minister or medical professional.

We took a first run at the list of questions which could be explored at such a meeting.

  • What is your understanding of what is happening to you?
  • What do you believe about death? (not what you are supposed to believe but what do you actually believe)
  • What is God’s role in our death and dying?
  • What are your fears/worries about death and dying?
  • What are your priorities if time runs short?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you not willing to sacrifice?
  • In the event that you became too sick to speak for yourself, who would you like to speak for you?
  • What’s really important in your life?

We are sending out this email to get your input and counsel. What do you think of this idea of offering to host such conversations? What suggestions to you have? What questions would you add or delete or change?

May God grant us wisdom and courage as we continue this conversation as a community shaped by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

-Amy & Ann

*Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” has been an important resource

Black Arts Plus

This Thursday, April 9th, the East Side Arts Initiative will present Black Arts Plus: Legends Remembered and Artists to Watch with the opening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in Palmer Hall.  Appetizers will be served and several of the artists featured in the exhibit will be present. All are welcome.  This week’s evotional is written by George Miller the owner of Black Arts Plus, a near eastside art gallery on Parsons Avenue in business for 28 years.

george millerThe near eastside of Columbus is an historical Mecca for Black artists.  Internationally known are Robert Stull, Elijah Pierce, Aminah Robinson, Pheoris West, and Bernie Casey. Other well known is the like of Roman Johnson, Kojo Kamau, Ben Crumpler Queen Brooks, Walt Neil, Ed Colston, Larry Winston Collins, Ron Anderson, Gilda Edwards, Pepper, Bruce Robinson, and Harvey Gilliam.

The unique character of the Columbus community is the universities, colleges and art institutions that feed the proliferation of the art in both development and presentation. The art makes a statement, records history and enriches lives. The diverse living pattern allows the artists to draw upon the “black experience” and the skills taught by recognized legends.  The neighborhood fed the genius, of folk artists William Hawkins, Elijah Pierce, Smoky Brown and Leroy Almon.

When I was first introduced to black art, I had a passion to expand the exposure of the artist and increase the awareness and resources in the art arena.  I opened Black Arts Plus as a retail/gallery space to provide matting and framing, art by local, regional and national artists, black books, greeting cards, collectibles and artifacts. An interest evolved for collecting “Fine Art” and I became a unique outlet for artists that included Barbara Chavous, Leon Page, Charles Dillard, Jeff Clark, Dennis Harkness and many students from Columbus College of Art and Design.  As the artists emerged and gained exposure in the ACE Gallery, the Columbus Museum of Art, The Elijah Pierce Gallery, The William H. Thomas Gallery, Peaceworks Gallery, the Shot Tower Gallery, and Short North galleries they gained recognition and many of the works have become highly collectable.

The exhibition is a mixture of many different styles, mediums, professional from beginning artists to master artists, self taught to youth to senior artists. The selected works are only a few Eastside artists represented from Black Arts Plus operating 27 years in the community. Indeed, they are Legends Remembered and Artists to Watch.

-George Miller

George and others from the East Side Arts Initiative will be the presenters in Palmer Hall this Sunday at 9:45 a.m.

Invitation to Holy Week

At the end of the worship service this past Sunday, I shared the following invitation to Holy Week.

This is holy week.  THIS IS IT.  the most important week in the Christian year.  Easter has a context and that context is to be found in the services held on Thursday and Friday.  These are some of the most engaging worship experiences we have all year.

The Maundy Thursday service will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary and will focus on the last meal that Jesus shared with the disciples.  The service will include communion, the choir will sing several anthems and will move from light into darkness.  Childcare will be provided but keep in mind that this service is appropriate for children. There is a reason this is many Broadstreeters favorite service of the year – it is powerful and deep.

And then on Friday at 6:30 p.m., we will remember the passion of our Lord Jesus with a service in the courtyard.  Music leadership will be provided by Jim Hildreth on piano and Valorie Hildreth on flute.  Brad Binau will offer a reflection on the meaning of the cross.  It promises to be a beautiful and meaningful service.  Brittany will be offering a good Friday edition of worship plus.  Children are encouraged to attend.

Easter SundayOn Sunday, come and celebrate the resurrection at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. – choir, brass and flowers galore!  The two services are identical.  Invite your friends and neighbors.  It is a day when many visitors will come through our doors.  I challenge all of us to make any and all newcomers and folks we haven’t seen in a while feel welcome.  Scoot to the middle of the pew so that they will have an easier time finding a seat.  Learn their names.  Help parents of young children find the nursery.

It promises to be quite a week: Betrayal, arrest, trial, sentencing, crucifixion, death….  It promises to be quite a week but, God willing, it will end with resurrection.  This isn’t a week for business as usual – pay attention, stay awake.  Above all, walk as close to Jesus as you are able, follow him as closely as you can bear.  This week, stick close to Jesus.

I look forward to seeing you all during Holy Week at some combination of Thursday, Friday and Sunday!