The Roundtable Death Café is an event series created by the Completed Life Initiative.
Each Roundtable is a two-hour event that provides an open forum for panelists to deconstruct the stigma surrounding death and dying. For the first half of the event, our panelists will discuss how death cafés can work to destigmatize these conversations through local, small group connections; how these events can advance empathy and compassion towards grief and end-of-life suffering; and how individuals and organizations, on both a local and national scale, can further promote #deathpositivity. For the second half, our audience will be assigned into breakout rooms that will follow the traditional Death Café model of participant-led discussion. The second portion of the event is entirely confidential and private. Only the first half panel discussion will be recorded.
For our August session, we will be joined by four incredible panelists:
- Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is a pioneering death educator who uses humor and outside the box activities to get people to plan ahead for our 100% mortality rate. Her motto is “Talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead." She is author of the award-winning books, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die, and Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips. She is also the coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival and a pioneer of the Death Café movement in the United States. Her website is AGoodGoodbye.com.
- Amy Cunningham is a licensed funeral director and celebrant in Brooklyn. She is the owner of Fitting Tribute Funeral Services, which specializes in natural burials, delayed transfers, home funerals, and witnessed cremation services. Filled with kind advice on how to make funerals more affordable and sustainable, Amy maintains a blog called TheInspiredFuneral.com with funeral celebrant Kateyanne Unullisi. In February 2018, Women's Health magazine gave Amy the unique moniker "Death Ritual Disrupter," in a piece about how daily death contemplation and awareness can enrich our lives and keep us healthier. She was a reliable resource to news reporters throughout the novel coronavirus crisis, and most recently was named one of the 50 most fascinating people in Brooklyn. Find her most actively engaged on Instagram @FittingTributeFunerals, and Facebook.
- Nancy Gershman, LMSW is a psychotherapist with BHAVA Therapy Group, and the developer of Dreamscaping, an imaginal and photo-based therapy supported by the way memories get encoded in the brain. Her publications include Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss: The Art of Dreamscaping with Barbara E. Thompson, and case studies in Robert A. Neimeyer’s Techniques of Grief Therapy. Her Dreamscaping work with end-of-life patients and their families at Visiting Nurse Service of NY was featured on NY1’s “New Yorker of the Week” (2016). Her work with the eating-disordered culminated in the traveling exhibit, “The Brides of Ed” (2013). Since 2013, Nancy has been the in-person host and social media face of Death Café New York City.
- Harvey Newman is an Interfaith Minister who became interested in the Human Potential movement when he trained with the Church of Humanism in 1974. In 1979 he became the founder and facilitator of Life-Mastery counseling in New York City. His interest in religion and spirituality led him to be ordained as an Interfaith Minister by the New Seminary 1984. Seeing a need for Interfaith to become a respected alternative to organized religion, he cofounded and was the first Chairperson of Association of Interfaith Ministers in 1985. In 2005 he became the founder and facilitator of Circle of Life-Mastery, Inc., a 501(c)(3) devoted to the expansion of human consciousness. During the Covid shutdown he began attending Nancy Gershman’s Death Café NYC on Meetup.com through Zoom. When Nancy asked if he would be willing to replace her as host, he accepted the position, which he currently holds.
*NOTE* Due to the participatory nature of this event, attendees will only be able to join via Cisco Webex on their computer. You will NOT be able to call-in to this event over the phone.