Well, it’s that time of year again! We are approaching April 16, National Health Care Decisions Day, and I’m excited to tell you about a new initiative that will be launched next week. The JLC Initiative is the brainchild of Jill Preyer, Cindy Bovee-Kemper, and myself, and our goal is to drastically increase access to health care decision-making education and forms across Western North Carolina (WNC). Part of our strategy is to use diverse and accessible locations for class sessions, including educational institutions, community centers, and faith communities. We have created a pilot program that we are launching first at UUCA, then assessing, tweaking, and rolling it out to other congregations in WNC. Ultimately, we will have a simple toolkit we can share so that every person in WNC has access to this essential information. Beginning the conversation with loved ones starts with education on the issues and forms.

This week, collaborating with the WNC Advance Care Planning Community Initiative, we begin training facilitators from within the congregation (by invitation) to teach Advance Care Planning seminars. On March 29, we will launch workshops here at UUCA – these are free and open to the UUCA community and the public. We will give adults in WNC opportunities to talk about their end-of-life care and create legal documents (Advance Directive) to reflect their goals. In addition, we intend to maximize impact by providing information regarding class locations and schedules to primary care physicians, educating them about the initiative, and working with other community organizations.

As you may already know, when I was working as a chaplain, I had many experiences with families who had never communicated a single word to one another about their wishes, should they be incapacitated. They found themselves in ICU with a loved one and no idea what their wishes were.  As a result of these experiences, I pledged that when I returned to the congregation, I would bring these end-of-life conversations into the local church setting. Where better to talk about your values and life goals than in your faith community? Many of you have already completed your forms, and some have had in-depth conversations with me or others about how to manage your individual needs and situations. It is a privilege to sit with you and be of support as you consider these essential and personal decisions.

I hope that if you have not already completed your own documents, you will attend one of the UUCA workshops, and encourage others to attend as well. Beginning the conversation is the first step. If you are interested in being considered to attend facilitator training, please contact me. Workshops will be held at UUCA on the following dates. Please check UUCA’s eNews articles for locations. All are welcome!

  • Sunday, March 29, 1:30-3:30pm
  • Tuesday, March 31, 10am-Noon
  • Sunday, April 5, 1:30-3:30pm
  • Saturday, April 11, 10am-Noon
  • Thursday, April 16, 6-8pm