Congregational Life and the Dying: Cultivating Resurrection Hope Among the Dying in a Congregational

“… West today to hope in the bodily resurrection, given the way in which both medical and cultural forces push reflection upon death to the sidelines? ”

Team Members/Contributors

Todd Billings Western Theological Seminary Contact Me

About this award

How can pastors and congregations in the Reformed tradition prepare for the journey of dying—and cultivate resurrection hope—when dying has frequently been turned into a medical, rather than an ecclesial and familial, experience?

In order to explore this topic theologically and pastorally, I will meet with a small group of congregational ministers for three colloquies over the course of nine months. These colloquies will have three central dynamics: 1) learning together through common reading from theological and medical sources, as well as guest speakers from theological and medical fields; 2) sharing together about the particular deficits and strengths of the Reformed tradition in response to these concrete pastoral challenges; 3) disseminating our reflections through a series of blog posts and articles, exploring pastoral case studies, and giving pastoral and theological reflection for the sake of the larger church. This collaborative project is designed to enrich the ministry of these pastors and their congregations, to be a learning opportunity for my own research and writing on this topic, and to contribute to the discussion of this topic within the larger church in a meaningful way. We plan to pursue this project in a way that benefits a broad range of congregational leaders as they seek to cultivate an honest recognition of our creaturely mortality in congregations, along with genuine resurrection hope.

Image Title Year Type Contributor(s) Other Info
  Dying alone 2017 Website Article Todd Billings
Guest commentary by Ann Conklin – This piece was written during her participation in a Louisville Institute grant project, “Congregational Life and the Dying: Renewing Resurrection Hope in a Medical Age,” which is facilitated by J. Todd Billings.
  Her Dying Discipled Me 2017 Website Article Todd Billings
Author: Phil Letizia Editors’ note: This essay originated from the Louisville Institute Grant sponsoring a small group of Congregational pastors as they explore the subject of death and resurrection hope in a medicalized age.