TUESDAY, October 1, 6:30-8 PM

The Greening of the American Funeral: There’s a common misconception that cremation is “greener” than full casket burial because the plot for an urn requires less cemetery space. But nothing is as kind to the planet as a formaldehyde-free burial, whether the body is wrapped in a shroud and placed on a board, or put into a biodegradable casket without any metal hardware or nails. Join Amy in a discussion about greener funeral options, as well as modern modes of accelerating the body’s return to the soil. You can become a tree, after all!
Meet in Green-Wood Cemetery’s modern crematory chapel.

Sunday, OCTOBER 6, 9 AM

 Condolence Letter Writing as a Spiritual Practice. With death ever-present, condolence letters were mainstays of 19th-century life, missives of comfort written straight from the heart. On the final day of the National Home Funeral Alliance 2019 convention, Amy will lead a study of great condolences by Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Queen Victoria, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Aldous Huxley and other literary figures to draw out the best lessons for modern letter writing. Participants will then review the principles of what sorts of messages heal, and which don't help. Oak Ridge Hotel and Conference Center, Chaska, Minnesota. Learn more about the three day extravaganza and home funeral lovefest here.

NOVEMBER 5, 2019, 6:30-8 PM

Death Cafe: Join us in Green-Wood Cemetery’s modern crematory chapel for an opportunity to discuss a most forbidden topic: death! We'll start as a group of strangers then split into smaller groups to discuss any topic pertaining to death, dying, what matters most and what we hope to leave behind. You'll leave relieved, less burdened. Bring a friend to process the experience. It's the most miraculous event every time! Modern crematory chapel, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY.

TUESDAY, October 22, 6:30–8 PM

 How to Deliver a Great Eulogy: Rule number one: never wing it. Choosing the right words to memorialize always involves an element of risk, so when do you tailor the truth, and when might someone find healing in the mentioning of alcoholism or abuse? From Marc Antony honoring Julius Caesar to Cher toasting Sonny Bono, there’s much to learn from historic and famous eulogies. Through readings and recordings, Amy will lead the discussion of how radical honesty influences eulogies today. You’ll learn how to focus on content and presentation, and a better appreciation of the eulogy as a literary form. Bring your memories and a notebook! Meet in Green-Wood Cemetery’s modern crematory chapel.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2:30 -4 p.m.

Cremation and the Modern Process: The rate of cremation surpassed the rate of burial in the United States in 2016 and yet most people know nothing about cremation's history and what's entailed in the process. Amy will lead a presentation of cremation’s history and its impact on present-day funeral service. A tour of the crematory with a view of the faces of chambers (or retorts) will follow, led by Green-Wood's experienced crematory staff. In the end, you'll better know how to choose between cremation and green burial, and select a mode of disposition that expresses your values. Who knew that woven into cremation's story were so many hotly contested views on facing death, and so much passion regarding what's really right for the earth and all of civilization? Green-Wood Cemetery's modern crematory chapel, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY.

Tuesday, November 12, 7-8:30 pm

Green-Wood Cemetery’s Death Café is inspired by the centuries-old European salon (or café), an informal gathering to discuss philosophical, political or scientific ideas. In 2011, British entrepreneur Jon Underwood brought this concept to discussions of the most universal, forbidden topic of all: death. Underwood’s intention was to provide an opportunity to “increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their lives.” Today, there are over 4,400 Death Cafes in 26 countries around the world. Green-Wood is proud to host these a Death Cafe gatherings every other month in the beautiful, modern chapel. It’s an opportunity for safe and open exchanges, without an agenda. Amy will moderate. Tea and light snacks are provided.

“A place for people to discuss our inevitable fate.” – Gothamist

Tuesday, December 10, 6:30–8 PM

Memorializing Loved Ones at the Holidays: The holidays are a particularly difficult time for the family and friends of departed loved ones. How can they grieve and memorialize when the season is filled with so much cheer? Yes, grief can intensify at the end of the year, but all is not lost. Join Amy to learn about a myriad of unique keepsakes and tributes that can be created in a loved one’s honor, whether they come in the form of textiles, artwork, charitable donations, or rituals at the dinner table. We will also explore how digital platforms can provide an ideal space for sharing stories and memories that are easily accessible on the web. Discover what might feel right for you and your family. Meet in Green-Wood Cemetery’s modern crematory chapel.

Saturday, February 29, 2020 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Revisioning the Moments for End-of-Life Ceremony and Ritual, One Spirit Learning Alliance (attend in-person or by videoconference or by downloading recordings). As American families have become more religiously/spiritually mixed and diverse, a call for new language and ceremony has emerged around the end-of-life period. How can we better acknowledge change and loss, honor the dead, and pull ourselves together at times when sadness seems all there is? Are there perhaps more milestones to mark than those usually provided for by a funeral or memorial service that can promote healing touchstones as we acknowledge our grief? Join Amy in an optimistic tour of new occasions for ceremony in the journey of the dying process; death, committal, disposition, first anniversary and beyond. This workshop will inspire those who are anticipating the loss of a loved one, those who have recently lost a loved one, funeral directors, ministers, celebrants and death doulas find ways to add meaning to the processing of any grief experience. 247 W. 36th Street, 6th Floor, New York City, NY 10018. Phone: 212-931-6840; Cost: $ 100.00, One Spirit Graduates: $ 90.00

Highlighted memories

Amy and architect Katrina Spade discuss the future of the funeral and Recompose.life at Green-Wood Cemetery, June 8, 2019. Photo credit: Dina Stander

Amy and architect Katrina Spade discuss the future of the funeral and Recompose.life at Green-Wood Cemetery, June 8, 2019. Photo credit: Dina Stander

Speaking to the Chevra Kadisha, Jewish burial society of B’nai Jeshurun, Manhattan, March 2019.

Speaking to the Chevra Kadisha, Jewish burial society of B’nai Jeshurun, Manhattan, March 2019.

Amy shows a felted wool shroud from Bellacouche.com at her greener funeral talk, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, October 4, 2017.

Amy shows a felted wool shroud from Bellacouche.com at her greener funeral talk, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, October 4, 2017.

Amy at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Trade show, October 2016.

Amy at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Trade show, October 2016.

At First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, 2016.

At First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, 2016.

Maple Street, 2015

Maple Street, 2015

“Those of you who are worn out and crushed by this mourning, let your hearts consider this: This is the path that has existed from the time of creation and will exist forever, many have drunk from it and many will yet drink. As was the first meal, so shall be the last. May the master of comfort comfort you. Blessed are those who comfort the mourners.” —Jewish blessing