Date of Award
University or Center
Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)
This study was based on the premise that most people made funeral arrangements only after a death had occurred and within a setting of emotional turmoil. The desire of the study was to make available material, and instruction which would help to prepare the practical materials, providing information for the survivors of the deceased listing the desires of the deceased for his or her bodily disposal. When this material had been completed it was found that over seventy percent of those who used the material, made their actual funeral arrangements or consciously made known their desires for their funeral arrangements, either in writing or verbally, before any time of trauma or crisis, and made others significantly more alert to the planners real desires for such a time.
The over sixty-five (65+) age group is closer in years to the time of death when time is considered in the biological development of life. This age group will naturally have a larger percentage of deaths per thousand of population than any other age group in America. Florida contains the largest number of persons within this age group of any state. Our ministry location presents added problems in death crisis times because of location and problems of relationships to other geographic locations. Age, also, opens a door to the awareness of the need for pre-preparation that is usually ignored at other times of life. This same 'age' provides for the opportunity for an unusual ministry of pre-preparation. It is this ministry which was planned for and evolved from this study project.
The average age and health conditions of the membership of the congregation to which the study was directed, provided a sense of urgency and emphasized the need for this act of ministry.
This program resulted in financial outlay decrease. Emotional upset was seemingly eased for each participant. The study reflects information that could be available to any group that shows elements of interest for such a ministry. Although the study deals with an emotionally sensitive area, it also helps to remove the concept of morbidity which is found ingrained into the minds of many of the people who are approached on this subject.
This study is, above all, a report of what is (in age and death) and what can or should be accomplished through a ministry of pre-preparation. Chapter VI stands alone as the focus of this study. It contains the goals toward which and from which the act of ministry evolved.
Hanley, Morris G, "Dealing with death before you die: the elderly preparing for death. Practical arrangements for the dying and their survivors" (1984). ETD Collection for Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center. Paper AAIDP14645.