What is GraveTalk?

GraveTalk is a resource for people from both within and outside the Church to explore questions about death. It includes a pack of 52 questions about life, death, society, funerals, and grief, and is ideal for use in a relaxed environment or café space provided by a church.

Running a GraveTalk event is simple. It can be run in a community space, church hall or commercial café. Those coming gather in small groups of four to six people, refreshments are available and participants simply choose questions from the pack of GraveTalk cards to get the conversation started. They can work through as many or as few questions as they wish, depending on how the conversation unfolds.

What kind of questions are on the cards?

The questions are all open-ended and grouped into five themes: Life – what makes it special for you; Death – memories and experience; Society – how our culture deals with death; Funerals – what happens and what could happen; Grief – the reality of loss. Examples include ‘What would you like your lasting legacy to be?’, ‘How do you feel about being asked to wear bright colours at a funeral’, and ‘What music would you like to have played or sung at your funeral’. This is about creating a conversation, not running a course – there are no answers, just space for people to talk and to listen.

Do you think there’s a reluctance to talk about death in British society?

Sometimes there is a sense that talking about death is ‘morbid’ or perhaps even ‘tempting fate’. Many of us find it relatively easy to talk about the memory of those we have known and loved, sharing stories of grief and bereavement. However, it is much more difficult to talk about our own mortality or to make any kind of plans for our funeral, even though it is helpful to do so and will often give a real peace of mind.

Does GraveTalk provide an outlet for Christians to share their hope that death is not the end?

Because GraveTalk is a conversation, there are opportunities for those taking part to share their own understandings, thoughts and beliefs. It is advertised as suitable for all faiths and doubts, and it is important that whatever thoughts and experiences people share are heard respectfully.

The feedback from all who have run GraveTalk is very positive. After initial reluctance, many are surprised both at how easy it is to organise and also how well the conversation flows. A GraveTalk event will have space for tears and laughter, for talking and silence, for prayer and reflection.

GraveTalk (Church House Publishing) is available now.