“Die Wise” Small Group Experience on Talking about Death and Dying Well

This offering is available through partnership with our friends from the Celo Community an in response to requests by members of the St. Thomas community to address the topic of death and dying.

Dying well is the right and responsibility of us all, and a moral, political, and spiritual obligation to our ancestors and heirs, says author and teacher Stephen Jenkinson. Yet learning the skills of dying is nearly impossible in a culture addicted to competence and not-dying. We have few elders to show us how to befriend death as a teacher and guide. In his book Die Wise, Jenkinson teaches the skills of dying, starting by exposing what prevents us from receiving death as a rich inheritance rather than as an enemy and a thief. He then offers a humble, courageous, and positive vision of how death can be stitched into the very fabric of our lives.


In July, a group of us viewed “ Griefwalker,” the documentary, which served as an introduction to Jenkinson’s body of work. Before founding the Orphan Wisdom School in 2010, he directed palliative care at Mountain Sinai Hospital of Toronto. He pushes back against death phobia” and “grief illiteracy” to promote acceptance of death (well before death) in order to participate emotionally in our deaths, just as we participate in other fundamental life events.


This film may be streamed online and we request that folks take time to view it prior the small group opportunity described below. Here’s a link: Griefwalker Film


If, following “Griefwalker,” you feel compelled to ask the question, “What does death ask of me?” please join with others for a three-part facilitated conversation on Jenkinson’s book, Die Wise.


***Please prepare for the this experience by reading the book prior to our first meeting on Thursday, September 19, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Subsequent Thursday gatherings are on October 10 and 24 at the same hour.***


Katherine Savage and Laurie Cone first met Stephen Jenkinson in 2015 when he came to Pittsboro, NC for a showing of “Griefwalker” and a daylong workshop on his book. The experience inspired both to be trained as death midwives. Laurie later enrolled in the Jenkinson’s Orphan Wisdom School program in Golden Lake, Ontario. She homesteads in a community in central North Carolina, as does Katherine in our own Celo Community.


St. Thomas Church is located at 372 Reservoir Road, just off 19E and up the hill behind CVS. Donations at the door are invited to cover the cost of the public film screening. The three-part small group experience with facilitators is $30 per participant. If this modest fee is an obstacle, email admin@stthomasonline.org for assistance.




WRITTEN BY: Beth Turner