In this retreat we will explore some funeral ceremonies and how we can choose to remember and celebrate a person who has died, and we reflect on our own funerals.
Archeological digs at Birkrigg Common in Cumbria have revealed an interesting ancient burial: a baby had been buried in a swan’s wing – a gentle loving image resonating with a mysterious poetry of its own: enveloping wings, soft and warming, protective, yet powerfully strong in flight.
Most people have some idea of whether they want to be buried or cremated, but beyond that they leave it all up to a funeral director, or their next of kin. Quakers are asked to be considerate and “make arrangements for their old age in good time”. The same could be said for burials and funerals “so that the burden doesn’t fall onto others”(Advices and Queries 1,29).
It doesn’t have to be in a wooden box. Some people ask to be carried to their final resting place in a wicker basket. That makes me think of baby Moses floating down the river Nile, from cradle to grave. Others like the idea of one’s ashes being scattered in the winds and borne out to sea.
The retreat will be facilitated by Anna Wimberley, as a follow-up from last year’s “When my time is up”. She has recently taken part in a shroud making workshop.
The retreat will include amongst other things:
- a meditation
- an opportunity to try out a shroud cocoon for size and feel
- a visit to a burial site,
- writing a letter
Death welcomes everyone as they come, willingly or in protest, when their time is up. We don’t know when that will be or indeed what will happen thereafter. By looking at our own funerals we pretend that we are looking back at our lives from the other side so to speak. We are forced to re-evaluate everything. This may take us to a new level of understanding.
Led by Anne Wimberley, member of the Community
For further details or for a booking form contact us.
Or you can download a booking form here
All our retreats take place at the Community. There will be free time and opportunity to join in the Community’s regular worship.