colorful sunset

Workshops to Inspire Reflection and Facilitate Planning for End of Life

Church in the Forest, Pebble Beach, California

October 3, 2019

Advance Health Care Directives

photo of Joy Smith

Joy Smith, RN, MSN, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP)

It is very important that health care providers and family members know the health care needs and desires of patients. It is not only the aged, but any adult, who needs an advance health care directive. The health care directive is a form one fills out, discusses with one’s family, and provides to their health care providers. It is good practice to review the form annually. Register for a workshop at CHOMP Health Care Directives and learn more about the forms and check-in with a health care professional regarding your choices. See also Prepare for Your Care for videos and the down-loadable forms.  

Making the Most of our Personal and Practical Resources

photo of Shary Farr

Shary Farr, Founder and President, Partners for Transitions

“Planning enables you to create order, make personal transition choices and communicate with your family and loved ones, creating a sense of security and peace for you. Planning diminishes your fear and enhances your passion for living.” Shary Farr In her presentation Mrs. Farr discussed:
  • Getting organized: The All Together Notebook
  • Preparing and sharing our end of life wishes
  • Emotional aspects of preparing for transition
With humor, compassion, and warmth, Shary Farr relates stories to motivate us to organize our financial records, share our end of life wishes, and deal lovingly with our own emotions regarding death. She offers for sale her carefully curated and organized All Together Notebook. It is a place to record all the practical matters relating to death, e.g., financial records, health care directive, and funeral wishes. Mrs. Farr's website provides practical resources for caregivers and elders.

November 14, 2019

Spiritual Growth

photo of Denise Welsh

Denise Welsh, M. Div., MBA

“There comes a point when we are faced with the reality that we or a loved one isn’t going to regain health. So now, while we are able, we have an amazing opportunity to grow spiritually, to prepare for the coming days of declining health.” Denise Welsh

The Reverend Welsh is the former chaplain for Women and Children’s Services, Oncology, at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City. Her warm and approachable manner is reflected in the recording of the sermon she delivered the Sunday following her presentation. Points she made are:

  • Creating a healing experience
  • Living the losses: turning mourning into dance
  • Believing that we do not die alone

Listen to her November 17th, 2019 sermon.


Celebrating Life! Funerals and Memorial Services

photo of Rev Joanne M Swenson
photo of The Reverend Ken Feske

Joanne Swenson, Th.D. and Ken Feske, M. Div., Ministers, Church in the Forest, Pebble Beach, California

Funeral? Memorial service? Reverend Swenson reviewed the difference. She and Reverend Feske shared stories that underscore the importance of telling our families exactly what we want as a celebration of our lives. Examples of funeral programs encouraged attendees to consider what we want.

Reverend Swenson offered to meet individually with congregants to discuss funeral plans. She can be reached at 831-624-1374 or joanne@churchintheforest.org

January 9, 2020

A Guide to Planned Giving

photo of Christina Dawson

Christine Dawson, CFRE, Vice President of Philanthropic Services, Community Foundation for Monterey County

A planned gift is one delivered after one’s death. It can benefit you, your family, and the causes you care about. Ms Dawson led us through practical matters regarding leaving a financial legacy. See Your Legacy to learn more about planned giving. Your gifts to Church in the Forest are invested in the funds of the Community Foundation of Monterey, when not needed immedately for church operations.   Many other local philanthropies and nonprofits also invest there, creating a powerful financial tool to improve life throughout our area.  The Foundation's mission, indeed,  is “To inspire philanthropy and be a catalyst for strengthening community throughout Monterey County.” Community Foundation offers classes for those who want to learn more about philanthropy. Contact Ms Dawson at 831-375-9712 x126 or christine@cfmco.org  

Reflecting on my Life and Legacy

photo of Shary Farr

Shary Farr, Founder and President, Partners for Transitions

A deeper and more intimate encounter with ourselves, our families, and our friends is what Mrs. Farr preaches. She encourages you to:
  • Record your wants and needs regarding health care
  • Record the information the executor of your estate requires
  • Share the values and experiences that shaped your life
  • Create a “love letter” to your family; this is also known as a “spiritual will”
  • Recognize the people and organizations that can benefit from your financial legacy
Author Hank Mattimore’s article, “How to Create a Spiritual Will” states that such a love letter to your family includes these elements: salutation, statement of values and beliefs, meaningful life experiences, hopes for the future, personal & family memories, and conclusion. Learn more about this topic via an online search for “spiritual will.” Shary Farr created and makes available for sale the All Together Notebook, which is a repository for all the practical information your family will need should you become disabled or die. It can be purchased via her website Partners for Transitions . Mrs. Farr and her colleagues stand ready to guide us through life’s major emotional transitions. She can be reached at sharon@partnersfortransitions.com