From our President

From the NHFA President

NHFA president Sarah Crews shares information and her views on the organization and on the home funeral movement.

Where Are We Headed? | November 2017

It was with great humility and honor that I received the official President Nametag from Lee Webster at the National Home Funeral Alliance biennial conference in September. I am so excited to be serving the mission of this important organization, in this capacity, at this time. Our 2017 board of directors is a phenomenal group of people, full of energy, love, and inspiration for the work of the NHFA. For two days prior to the conference, we all had the great pleasure of coming together for our annual retreat. Current, new and emeritus members gathered at the conference center to look ahead and envision the direction our organization will take in the next few years.

It is so clear that the extraordinary work of previous boards has prepared us to expand our reach with confidence and strength. A couple of metaphors came up over the course of the weekend to describe where we are right now in terms of the evolution of the NHFA. As I described it, the greenhouse has been built and now we get to decide what plants we want to tend and grow in its fertile soil. Dani LaVoire came up with one, even more apropos to our work, saying that “the bones are all in place and we are called to provide the muscle” to grow and enliven the movement.

And, it is indeed, a movement! When I joined the board in 2013 we had around 300 members. Four years later and we are at 1576 and counting. In the six weeks since the conference 37 people have joined. We have members in all 50 states and in 7 countries around the globe. The National Home Funeral Alliance is the leading voice internationally on home funeral education.

So, where are we headed? I’m glad you asked, because the answer lies with you! Our strength comes from our members using all the resources NHFA provides for your use on the website. To teach neighbors and friends the transformative, comforting power of family centered after death care. To hold workshops in your communities. To build bridges with your local hospitals and hospices to ensure families rights to care for the body are respected and upheld. To form care circles, and help people understand that home funerals are available to and possible for anyone!

Know that all of us on the board are here to make sure you have the support you need. We look forward to hearing from you and engaging with you on our Facebook page. Think about sharing your stories on the blog, contribute to the newsletter, tell us your ideas! We want to hear about home funeral goodness happening in your neck of the woods, in your lives and in your hearts.  We are so grateful that you are members. We couldn’t do this without you!

Show the NHFA Some Love This November | October 2016

This year, as you’ve no doubt heard, we’re changing it up at the NHFA. We’re doing something we nonprofits hate to do and turning it into something we LOVE. We’re asking for money. $8,000 to be exact. From all of you. And we want you to love it, too.

Ugh! I didn’t become a member of the NHFA to be bugged about giving donations! What’s to love about that!?!

This. This is what you’re going to love about it:

Money = Stored Energy = Relationship Made in Heaven


Think back to the barter system. I give you a basket of apples, you give me a basket of onions. Perfect. But wait. That’s doesn’t work if I really want pears and you don’t care for apples. We have to find something we both want and need. Hmmm.

Ok, let’s keep going. I’ll offer you
– a week of wonderful programming in November, absolutely free
– free conference calls all year round, and a way to listen to those you missed
– 24/7 website access to cutting edge information and resources
– multiple ways to advertise your services on our directories
– representation in the world as the top leading expert nonprofit on home funerals
And you give me…a basket of onions?

Hold up again.

So if all the things the NHFA does for you is FREE stored energy just waiting for you to need or want it, doesn’t it make sense that there be a reciprocal arrangement to complete the energy exchange?

Yup, you heard that right. Money is an energetic exchange. You know. Like a first kiss.bigredlips

So this is a relationship, right? Right!

And all good relationships are based on each of us getting what we need and want. And when we both get that, well…LOVE!!!

You need an organization that has your best interests at heart, that is in step with where you’re going, that works hard to promote home funerals that are near and dear to your heart.

That’s what the NHFA strives to be for you. Knowledgeable. Available. Hardworking. Supportive. Sympatico.

So now through November 15,  please show us some love for all the love the NHFA has been showing you. Show us with your stored energy in the form of donations at whatever level you are capable and willing to give. Please donate today, and help us keep home funerals alive.

Let’s make this relationship work for both of us. There are more kisses where that one came from…

Lee Webster, President
National Home Funeral Alliance
October 11, 2016

Message from the President | August 2016

Keeping the NHFA moving forward is a job I take seriously, and I want to let you know that, even though we may be in the heart and heat of summer, your board of directors and our many wonderful volunteers are on the job.

This is the time of year when the guard changes on the NHFA board, with loyal board directors rotating off after having fulfilled their obligations and term limits, and new members joining in to bring fresh thinking and energy to the work we are all doing.

Board members, volunteers and members-at-large are all involved in this work for a wide variety of reasons. It takes time and energy, inspiration and follow-through. Those who answer the call are in it to support others who are educating families and others about home funerals and to ensure that the organization doesn’t just continue to exist, but that it thrives.

Some people express a desire to serve, but shy away from board work because they think they lack the skills to be effective, or are simply too busy now but want to be considered later. To help everyone to prepare for service at some future date, I am offering a short series of conference calls to answer your questions about how the NHFA board works and flesh out what you need to know to hit the ground running should you feel called to serve. Attending doesn’t obligate anyone, and you’re welcome to attend as many or as few sessions as you choose.

Can you see yourself stretching just a bit to join this part of the effort to spread the word about home funerals? Plan to drop in, and keep reading our newsletter for dates, times, and topics—coming soon! We welcome you with open arms—

Lee Webster, President
National Home Funeral Alliance
August 1, 2016

So what have your board and volunteer committee members been up to since I wrote you last? Take a look at some of the highlights:

New NHFA Publicationsthree-books

All three are available at While there, be sure to sign up for AmazonSmiles and select the NHFA to receive nonprofit donations every time you shop!

Our Information Card in Spanish—and now you can order it and other NHFA publications on our website!

Wake Up to Dying Project a Great Success
The Wake Up to Dying ProjectMore than 900 people were exposed to the benefits and possibilities of home funerals at the Wake Up to Dying Project event in Burlington, Vermont, over the weekend of July 16-17. The NHFA was a national sponsor, earning recognition as the driving force behind home funeral education on the international stage. NHFA President Lee Webster represented the organization at an informational panel, along with FCA Executive Director Josh Slocum and Vermont NFDA President Greg Camp. Webster later co-facilitated a group workshop on creating community support models throughout the dying and after-death experience after months of development with WUTD Project Manager Nina Thompson. Topping that off, she provided a well-attended body demonstration and informational event. Thanks to Josh for being pretend dead!

Set the Date for Conference 2017
logo for the Pearlstone CenterOur 6th Biennial Conference will be held at the Pearlstone Center in Maryland from September 22-24, 2017, just an hour south of Washington, DC. The Events Committee has been working hard to negotiate contracts and begin lining up speakers and workshop leaders to support the theme of advocating for home funerals. With so many national nonprofits centered in the DC area, we will have a great opportunity to learn from and share info with movers and shakers in fields closely related to our own. Look for more information soon! And if you’re interested in being part of this fabulous gathering, jump on board by contacting Anne Murphy. Read more …

The NHFA Stand on Terminology
Definition of TermsHome funeral advocates and practitioners in Canada who have been using the title “death midwife” are now being asked to use another name. Under British Columbian and other provincial laws, the word “midwife” is defined by and protected by law. We want to assure our American home funeral advocates that US common law does not restrict the use of the term, but also alert you to our position paper Clearly Defined that explores the terminology we use and why it is important for us to choose it carefully. The NHFA Board of Directors is also working with our attorneys to protect our members and our own terminology.

Formation of an Ethics Committee
The NHFA Board of Directors has been diligently researching and developing policy for the purpose of creating an ad hoc Ethics Committee to help answer complaints and concerns around behaviors and practices. It should be noted that the committee has no regulatory function; rather, its members will advise participants and inform the board of possible additions and changes to our existing Codes of Ethics, Conduct and Practice. If you are interested in serving on this committee, or have a complaint to register, let us know and we will walk you through the process.

Tending the Garden in the New Year | January 2016

photo of vegetable gardenNo doubt you are all asking yourselves similar questions as we all look toward the coming year—What changes can I make to benefit myself and my loved ones? How can I ensure prosperity and positive outcomes? What goals will I set to improve my life and the lives I touch?

After a year of tremendous growth within the home funeral movement, the leadership of the NHFA is asking similar questions.

Our mission to educate the public about the possibilities of home funeral is at the root of everything we do. And yet, nothing we do can sprout without the tending by many gardeners who sow the seeds of truth and wisdom to those in our communities who are seeking a different way to honor and care for their loved ones after death.

A great deal of the work the NHFA does, with assistance from our many dedicated volunteers, involves developing pools of information that are easy to access and understand. Over the coming year, we hope to enhance those methods and materials in order to broaden our reach in rich and meaningful ways. These are some of them:

  • Our website is undergoing its second phase of development to provide improved direct-to-families information and to empower people like you to carry the message with confidence and grace
  • Presentations and programs are being developed and updated with the most accurate information in easy-to-use formats
  • Our popular monthly call conferences are fully booked with exciting home funeral based programs and guests for the entire year ahead
  • Regional groups are being formed where members can draw on each other for support in their own unique cultural and geographic area
  • Written materials are being translated into other languages, designed to widen our scope with respect for all traditions
  • Social media, videos and webinars that carry our core message are in constant production
  • Media attention continues to increase, both by invitation and by design, and public appearances at strategic events is helping spread the word among related organizations, such as hospices, spiritual groups, funeral professionals, and more
  • Legislative monitoring has entered a new phase in partnership with the Green Burial Council and the Funeral Consumers Alliance, allowing us a direct look into what’s happening throughout the country that might affect families’ rights
  • We are beginning work on a blog that will offer space for creative thought leaders in and outside of our community to express ideas and tell stories in support of home funeral practice

But what the NHFA provides is just the beginning. How you, our members and friends, use these tools to grow familiarity and acceptance of home funeral practice is what really matters.

How will you personally manifest your home funeral knowledge, your passion, your intuition in the coming year?

How will we, collectively and individually, find ways to share the wisdom we hold?

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I invite you to join us in answering these questions, and to use whatever tools we have to offer as you answer your calling. We look forward to the coming year with you.

Lee Webster, President
National Home Funeral Alliance