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Dying Matters Awareness Week – Church encourages people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement

To mark the Dying Matters Coalition’s first Awareness Week (15th-21st March 2010), the Church of England is encouraging churchgoers to talk openly about dying and death, in a new podcast suitable for sermon and housegroup use.

Within the four-minute podcast, available here, Dying Matters’ director Hilary Fisher says: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the Church of England has joined the Coalition because they have such an important role in the community.”

She adds on the subject of breaking down the wall of silence that exists around death, dying and bereavement issues: “The only way we’re going to get people talking about dying is for you to talk to your neighbours, to talk to your friends, to talk to your loved ones, to talk to the people that you see in church.

“We want the Church of England to be talking about it in sermons, we want them to be engaging with other faiths when they meet in multi-faith situations, and we want them to be encouraging people to say, ‘If you really don’t yet know what you want, or you haven’t yet talked to loved ones, now is the time to do it.’”

Dying Matters, Hilary goes on to say, has produced online materials to help those conversations be a success; she also mentions that the website contains a guide to regional events promoting the coalition’s aims.

The Church’s National Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy Officer, Dr Brendan McCarthy, of Mission and Public Affairs, said: “Stimulating an ongoing national ‘conversation’ on the subjects of dying, death and bereavement is vital, so that an expectation of living and dying well can become the norm, and the fear of death and terminal illness can be alleviated."