In the wake of each loss we are inclined to curse the existence that deals out so many hardships, but many Unitarian Universalists emerge from their grieving with a sense of renewed faith in life, which offered them strength and hope when they most needed it. Life gives us more than it takes from us. — Rev. John H. Nichols

This workshop gives participants a chance to explore death, dying, mourning, and bereavement in a cultural context. Participants explore perspectives of various religious traditions, including Unitarian Universalism, their own experiences with mourning rituals, and current scientific understanding of what happens at time of death. This overview prepares participants for a more personal exploration of bereavement in Workshop 4.

Send a reminder to participants two or three days ahead of the workshop and include information about preparation from Workshop 2, Handout 1, Looking Ahead to Workshop 3.


This workshop will:

  • Invite participants to explore the death and mourning beliefs and practices of a number of different religious traditions, including Unitarian Universalism
  • Engage participants in discussion of anecdotal stories and scientific research concerning near-death experiences
  • Provide opportunities to contemplate personal beliefs about death, dying, and mourning.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Explore beliefs and practices about death and mourning from Unitarian Universalism and some other religious traditions
  • Share their own experiences with death and mourning rituals and practices
  • Examine anecdotal stories and scientific research on near-death experiences
  • Reflect on what they believe happens at the time of death and afterward, and what difference these beliefs make in their living.