Giving information

Posted by Chorltondeathcafe on Jan. 18, 2018, 3:59 a.m. 5 comments

Hi all,

I'm a little confused and am hoping you might clarify something for me.

I've hosted 8 Death Cafes over the past year, ranging from 12 people to 34, and it's become a regular event that the community looks forward to.

I'm a funeral celebrant but as far as I understand it, the 'rules' of the DC movement are that we don't talk about our work or give topics for discussion or provide information.

I have abided by those 'rules' strictly, despite wishing that I could share some of my knowledge, things I've learned.

In fact, I'm wondering whether, in order to share valuable information, I might need to call the evenings something else and lose out on supporting the DC movement, which would be a shame as I value it enormously.

I'm confused because this morning I have read (on Google) a newspaper report about a Death Cafe, run by a funeral celebrant.  (I don't want to post the link as I'd like to preserve the celebrant's privacy.)

The report says, "Tonight the discussion mainly revolves around funerals, burial and cremation – the importance of sharing our wishes, ways to discuss this with relatives, and curious bits of information about the rules and regulations on what can be put in a coffin: mobile phones yes, but the batteries must be removed; favourite biscuits are fine.

We discuss the merits of various types of coffin and I learn that people can be buried on private land – providing certain regulations and requirements are adhered to. Some people even have the ashes of a dear departed one made into jewelry or mixed into the ink of a new tattoo."

So, this sounds as if information is being given, and that there is a suggested topic for the evening.

Would you please clarify if this is acceptable to the DC movement, to lead a DC in this way?

Many thanks,



Facilitator/Charlotte Death Cafe

Hey there! I have been leading DC for a year and I have refrained from doing anything
other than what the guidelines
recommend. This is quite hard because I would like to have a theme and an agenda, but what I have come to experience is that the spontaneity is really best. We really have to trust the process.
The only thing I do is I read a poem or play a song at the beginning merely as a meditation or a vehicle to focus all of us in our time together since we come from work.I also have a few resources available for folks to take with them if they so choose.
I do not recommend putting DC with a book club.They really should be seperate.

Posted by Gaye Dimmick

Call it a "death education series"

Hi everyone:
Here in Atlanta, GA, USA I hold two events monthly: a Death Café where I follow the guidelines of DC and what I call a Death Education Series.

Once a month, I facilitate a session dedicated to End of Life Issues, Advanced Directives I&II and Funeral Planning.

Debbie since you have a following, it should be easy to have folks come to your separate event.

Last night I did a funeral planning seminar. The title of it was: "YOUR FUNERAL. Let's plan it. WHY? So your loved ones will not be arguing over what they think you want." :-)

Posted by Lisa Oliver

Interested in Canada

Very interesting - so here is my take. I too am a celebrant (specializing in end of life ceremonies) and have volunteered on a hospital palliative care floor and as phone support to families of someone who has died in palliative care. All of these have brought me insights and loads of information I share as personal experiences and I will refer participants to sources of info on the internet re: articles, books, government information sites, etc... - I never mention the name of my company. Last year, I was also leading workshops on end of life choices using a document found on the internet - these were NOT under the Death Cafe banner. But I have to admit, I am interested in the reaction to the ad posted by Debbie which seems to go against two basics ... Respect of the rules established by Jon Underwood is based on an honour system... I gladly honour that system - I think it's important to Jon's legacy...

Posted by Marie-France

Thank you

I'm not sure if you will see this, but thank you to the 4 people who replied to this post. I've only just discovered how to see the replies! (Well, I was told actually, by a helpful friend - thank you, S!)

I too have wondered about running another event and calling it something else, so as to give info. (although monthly, Lisa? Sounds as if you have a lot of energy!)

Anyway, thanks to you all.

Posted by Chorltondeathcafe

Good morning! I am very interested in this question since it also hits a lot of my own questions/confusions regarding hosting a DC. I haven’t started mine yet but am very excited to support this movement. I had originally planned on pairing this with a sort of “death book club” but after reading (and rereading) the guidelines, i’m unclear if that’s acceptable? I also had planned on discussing various disposition methods since I find information to be an excellent way to alleviate fear and anxiety surrounding death, however is that not allowed either? I hope we can both get some clarity and continue (or start in my case) this important conversation!

Posted by SLOcountyDC

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