The Good Funeral: Death, Grief, and the Community of Care


book
by Thomas Long, Thomas Lynch. Westminster John Knox Press, 2013.

Congregations pay attention to death. At least they should. Many clergy and parishioners find helping others move through the final passage of life to be a meaningful experience. It isn’t always just sad. Sometimes it is plentiful with constancy. This book by Thomas Long and Thomas Lynch is a careful exploration of how a community of faith can accompany people through this valley where death is real, not just a shadow. Long is a worship and preaching professor at Candler Seminary, and Lynch is an experienced undertaker and talented writer. This is the kind of book that you read one chapter at a time, not necessarily front to back. If you need to do some praying and thinking about your own mortality, you will want to start with Lynch’s final chapter titled “All Souls, All Saints: A Coda.” If you want to think about your congregation’s practice of the funeral, take up Long’s section titled “A Sense of Movement, A Sense of Meaning, A Sense of Hope: The Good Funeral.” This book is a resource to help you respond to the question: “how can my congregation help others experience fully and gracefully the experience of death and dying?” Recommended for all kinds of congregations, including Roman Catholic parishes and protestant congregations. Suggested for both clergy and laity.

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