Salvation Army event encouraging locals to celebrate life and prepare for death is anything but sombre

published on 24 May 2018

The Salvation Army’s first-ever evening devoted to end of life issues proved a hit with guests to the Bolton Citadel this week (22 May).

The ‘Journeying Home’ event featured tea and cakes; as well as creative areas allowing people to explore aspects of the end of life; from practical issues, such as wills and funeral services, to writing letters to people with loving and practical advice and even secret family recipes.

But despite the serious subject matter and its main aim of encouraging people to come to terms with the inevitable, Journeying Home was anything but a sombre evening. 

There were plenty of opportunities for guests to rejoice at the joy of life, whilst embracing its end; whether through selecting tunes for a personal playlist or by jotting down all the things to be thankful for on the leaves of a Tree of Thanksgiving.

Journeying Home organiser, Ali Thornton-Stark, from The Salvation Army’s Older People’s Ministries said:

“I am really pleased tonight went so well, it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for such a long time. I believe that planning for the end of our own lives gives a beautiful gift to those we leave behind in the event of our own death, so that they don’t have to think about that in their own time of grief.  

“I made my own funeral plan and will at the age of 36 due to personal circumstances and I believe this helped my own family to consider how each day is a gift from God whilst considering death in a rational way. Now, I’m just really passionate that other people talk about death more instead of being afraid of it.

“Journeying Home was always intended to be both a practical and a spiritual event and I think it definitely was.”

Christian Guthrie, who attended Journeying Home said:

“I have been reminded that I need to prepare more practically for the future and for my own death. The evening has been a lovely time to reflect and consider the important things in life, the practical issues to consider and also the spiritual side of life and death. I know some people find this subject uncomfortable but this has been done so well, thank you.”

Andrew Wileman, Assistant Director for Older People’s Ministries said:

“The reality is that dying matters and how we prepare for our own end of life will affect our loved ones and friends. This event and our Journeying Home resources create spaces for these important conversations to happen and to remove some of the taboos about death and dying.”