Dear Westminster Parents and Guardians,

This Sunday, October 29th our whole congregation worship service is built around the upcoming holidays of All Souls and All Saints. These holidays are an opportunity to remember those we love who have died, and in this service we will reflect on what it means to lose people (or beings) we love, what it means to grieve their loss, and how we can still stay connected, even though they are no longer here.

Why do an all-ages service about death and loss, you may wonder. Isn’t that a depressing topic? Why invite kids into this?

The fact is, we don’t talk much about death in our culture, we tend to relegate it to a few weeks after someone dies and then we put it all away. Yet it is an integral part of life, which is one reason why, I believe, holidays like All Souls and All Saints exist, to prompt us to talk and think about death, and remember those we love and the gifts they gave us when they were alive. And it is important for children, too, to have an opportunity to reflect on death and talk about it with people they love and trust, so they will be more prepared when, inevitably, it comes into their lives.

That said, because we understand that a service on death may open up conversations with your children, we want to let you know some of what we’ll share in the service and also provide resources (below) on how to talk about this subject with them.

The story for all ages is “Badger’s Parting Gifts” ( This book explores death and grief as seen through the eyes of anthropomorphized animal friends. The service will also include a couple of reflections from an NPR program called “This American Life,” on how individuals and families are working through their feelings and staying connected to people they love who they lost in the tsunami there in 2012.

Although the service has been designed with all ages in mind, if you feel this service is not right for your child at this time, we will have childcare space for the morning upstairs in the Chapel. The Nursery will also be available, as always, to children age four years and below.

Please, as always, feel free to reach out to Debra or Ellen with any questions or concerns you have about Westminster worship services or programs.

In faith,

Debra and Rev. Ellen


Talking to children about death:

Reassuring Reads:

These books can help you get the conversation started.

When Dinosaurs Die
By Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
This primer explains death and its emotional aftermath in simple language aimed at 5- to 8-year-olds.

What’s Heaven?
By Maria Shriver
After her great-grandma’s death, a young girl learns about the afterlife by asking a series of childlike (yet thought-provoking) questions.

The Forever Dog
By Bill Cochran
Mike plans to be with his dog, Corky, forever. But when Corky dies, he learns to cope with the loss — and to keep Corky’s memory alive.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf
By Leo Buscaglia
As the seasons pass, Freddie changes color from green to red to brown before he falls off in the winter, teaching kids that death is part of the cycle of life.