Vancouver School of Theology

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Spiritual Perspectives on Death and Dying

Spiritual Perspectives on Death and Dying

Spiritual Perspectives on Death and Dying

7:00 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to 5:00 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Vancouver School of Theology

6015 Walter Gage Road
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1

An Inter-Religious Conference

Health care provides a key cultural framework for understanding death and dying. To be sure, medical innovation has prolonged life. But it has also hidden the reality and inevitability of death. It is time to revisit wisdom about death and dying transmitted through spiritual traditions. With this goal, we are creating the conference outlined below.

The keynote event (May 23, 7:00 pm) with Dr. David Kuhl is free and open to the public; to attend other sessions, please register.

The entirety of the conference takes place in the Epiphany Chapel.



7:00 pm – OPENING PANEL DISCUSSION in Epiphany Chapel

Spiritual and Ethical Perspectives on Medical Assistance in Dying

Panelists: Arun Chatterjee (Spiritual Care Practitioner, Vancouver Coastal Health), Dr. Ashley Moyse (Bioethicist, Vancouver School of Theology), Philip Murray (Spiritual Health Leader at Fraser Health), Rabbi Adam Rubin (Congregation Beth Tikvah, Richmond), Dr. Sally Thorne (Professor, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia)

9:00 pm – OPENING RECEPTION in Great Dane Cafe



Spiritual and Psychological Preparation: Paper Presentations

9-9:30 am – Dying to Self: A Psychological Perspective, Dr. Eloecea

9:30-10:00 am – The Afterlife Journey: Kabbalistic Guidelines for Death Preparation Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan

10:00-10:30 – Navigating Death Through Hindu Scriptures, Acharya Dwivedi

BREAK (10:30-10:45)

Issues in Spiritual Care: Paper Presentations

10:45-11:15 am – A Response from the Soul: Liturgies for Alzheimer’s, Lynn Mills

11:15-11:45 am – Stillborn Baptism Amid Inter-religious Dialogue, Dr. Mark Stein

11:45 am-12:15 pm– Preparation for Death in the Quran and its Implications for End of Life Care for Muslim Patients, Dr. Syed Nasir Zaidi

LUNCH (12:15-1:15)

Cultural Perspectives: Paper Presentations

1:15-1:45 pm– Sante Muerte: Devotion to Death and a Saint of the Marginalized, Colby Gaudet

1:45-2:15 pm– Sensing the Past: Contemporary Identity Building in Rural Yucatan, Dr. Laura Osorio Sunnucks

BREAK (2:15-2:30)


Singing at Life’s Threshholds, Threshold Singers of Vancouver and Bowen Island

Music for Healing, Passing, Lamenting, Sulam Jewish Music Ensemble

Meditation and Chant in Support of End-of-Life Care: A Buddhist Approach, Myoshin Kate McCandless

7:00-9:00 pm – KEYNOTE EVENT: FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC in Epiphany Chapel

We Die Alone and Yet We Don’t: A Conversation with Dr. David Kuhl, Author of What Dying People Want



Suicide: Paper Presentations

9:00-9:30 am– Medically Assisted Hedonism, Kiara Falk

9:30-10:00 am – Hugging Death, Anticipating Suicide, Dr. Ashley Moyse

10:00-10:30 am– Spiritual Assessment of Suicide: A Chaplain’s Perspective, Lauren Sanders

BREAK (10:30-10:45 am)

Christian Perspectives: Paper Presentations

10:45-11:15 am – Could You Say A Few Words?, Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart  

11:15-11:45 am – Christian Witness in Death, Rev. Janet L. Taylor

11:45 am -12:15 pm – My Father’s Garden: Reflections on Living with Dying in the Christian Tradition, Rev. Dr. Bob Paul

LUNCH (12:15-1:15)

Literary and Philosophical Perspectives: Paper Presentations

1:15-1:45 pm– Kierkegaard’s Concept of ‘Dying-to’ Oneself: A Perspective on the Sacrifice of the Eucharist, Rev. Dr. Travis O’Brian

1:45-2:15 pm– “Oh My Son Absalom”: Grief or Persuasive Tool?, Dr. Maryann Amor

2:15-2:45 pm– To Die Will be an Awfully Big Adventure, James Magee

BREAK (2:45-3:00)


Departure Directions: Connecting Your Values, Meanings, and Choices for Your After-death Care, with Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante of Willow

Registration for this event has ended.


Contact Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan Kaplan, VST’s Director of Inter-Religious Studies, and team at [email protected]

The Inter-religious Studies program at VST invites scholars from different religious and spiritual traditions to study together. We aim to raise awareness about multi-faith issues in ministry and communal life, and contribute to respectful interfaith collaboration in British Columbia and Canada. Read the program’s Spring Update 2018.

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