Listen to past Conference Calls

Missed a monthly conference call that you really wanted to hear? Now you can!

January 8, 2017: Lifepost is lifeposts_logoan easy-to-use storytelling tools enable you to create beautiful memorials and digital keepsakes for you and your loved ones. Founder Steve Waldman shares his vision and explains the importance of storytelling around the life of a loved one.

Download or listen to replay below.

free-for-all_150pxDecember 11, 2016: Free for All! Sharing what’s on the mind for NHFA members.

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awkward-imageNovember 13, 2016: Awkward! Home Funeral tips for when stuff happens

We’re going to let you in on those home funeral moments when we had to improvise or invent ways of doing things as circumstances required. And we invite you to share what you’ve learned including tips and solutions to handle tricky situations. We’ll do our best to answer your questions (how do I keep my dear departed Grandma from winking at the vigil?) and provide solutions to weird problems (a little cotton swab could come in handy!). If you attended the conference in October 2015, this will be reminiscent of the “Oops and Aha Moments” session, which was a great hit. You’ll hear from some seasoned home funeral guides who want you to come ready to share your own stories and experiences.

Download or listen to replay below.

November 1-4, 2016: Keeping Home Funerals Alive

On the first week of November 2016, we had a week of awesome calls. Did you miss them? Catch up now!

  • Day of the Dead – Learn about this Mexican cultural holiday and how you can celebrate your Ancestors on this day and all year long from NHFA board members and home funeral guides, Sara Williams and Kateyanne Unullisi.
  • Question and Answer roundtable with Olivia Bareham, Home Funeral Guide; Amy Cunningham, Funeral Director; Stacy Mitchell, Funeral Celebrant.
  • What does your community need to succeed with home funerals? NHFA board members Terry Skovronek and Sarah Crews break it down.
  • Mothers of the Home Funeral Movement – Join the discussion with Jerrigrace Lyons, Home Funeral Guide; Elizabeth Knox, Home Funeral Guide; Char Barrett, Funeral Director; Donna Belk, Home Funeral Guide; Merilynne Rush, Home Funeral Guide; Karen van Vuuren, Home Funeral Guide.

October 9, 2016: Home funeral guides embrace the dead on Dia de los Muertos

day-of-dead-altarRead the article and see photos of their events. It’s time to make the ‘Halloween’ season more meaningful and less about candy. Sara does at her annual ‘Dia de los Muertos’ ceremony, including themes, honoring ancestors, food, and more. Plus Kateyanne fills us in on what it was like being in Mexico during their festivals. Jessica shares how they made the holiday more meaningful at their local school.

Plus, get a jump on our annual giving campaign, which includes a week of talks of traditions and community. Sara Williams, Kateyanne Unullisi and Jessica Caldwell are home funeral guides, all of whom serve on the board of the NHFA.

Download or listen to replay below.



September 11, 2016: Lucy Basler and Su Jin Kim discuss communicating home funeral choices to hospices and hospitals

Lucy-SuJinEver run up against a hospital or hospice when advocating for your right to have a home funeral? Lucy Basler and Su Jin Kim helped write the book on how to approach these issues, in NHFA’s workbook Building Bridges Along the Death Care Continuum: Advocating for home funerals to hospices, hospitals, and care facilities. Lucy is an experienced home funeral guide, former Hospice chaplain, advocate for home funerals through teaching and spreading pertinent NHFA information with local hospitals, hospices and other institutions. Suzy (Su Jin Kim), is a social worker and psychotherapist currently working in oncology at a hospital. She additionally serves as a hospital Patient Advocate for the California End of Life Option Act and provides counseling around end of life planning.
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DonnaBelk-HomeFuneralJuly 10, 2016: Donna Belk and Kateyanne Unullisi discuss their book, “Home Funeral Ceremonies”

Donna Belk and Kateyanne Unullisi, authors of Home Funeral Ceremonies: A Primer to Honor the Dying and the Dead with Reverence, Light-heartedness and Grace, discuss their book and how profound and empowering creating your own ceremonies can be.

Donna and Kateyanne share how ceremony can carry the heavy load, allowing expressions of emotions and offering support, especially when some people find it most difficult to feel and connect.By weaving together one or many short ceremonies during a home funeral, you can add a component that is poignant and memorable. See how you can be empowered to create your own ceremonies from these home funeral guides, funeral celebrants, and NHFA board members. Download or listen to replay below.

June 12, 2016: Nina Thompson of “Wake Up to Dying”

photo of Nina Thompson, Wake Up to DyingThe Wake Up to Dying Project (WUTD) is an innovative non-profit organization with the mission to encourage people to think and to talk about dying. WUTD aims to shift our cultural perspective on death from fear and avoidance toward familiarity and preparedness by inviting people to acknowledge death, be prepared for it, and live more fully for having done so. The project is the brain child of Nina Thompson who will talk with us about how the work she is doing intersects with building community around home funerals. Download or listen to replay below.

May 8, 2016: Advocacy and Legislation
photo of judge gavel with official building in the backgroundJoin Advocacy Committee co-hosts, Sarah Crews and Terry Skovronek, as they discuss legislative issues around the country and the NHFA response. We’ll unpack the role of the NHFA in regard to the Virginia bill, SB595 the Dead Body Storage bill, and how our members coalesced magnificently to educate senators on funeral rights. Sarah will be interviewing Terry about the work of tracking legislation and challenges we anticipate on the horizon in several states. We will touch on the importance of meeting with hospice and hospitals to ensure that their policies regarding releasing bodies to families is in line with the law in their respective states. We plan to leave plenty of time for discussion about what members are doing in their own states and cities to advocate for families rights.Facilitator: Sarah Crews, NHFA Vice-President.  Download or listen to replay below.

April 10, 2016: Hospice, Home Funeral and Home Burial: providing a full continuum of care

six people carrying a board with a shrouded body on it during the winterWhen Pierce Beij was referred to hospice, his daughters Karin and Jennifer were not asked who they wanted to have called to pick up the body. Instead, they were asked if they would like to talk to someone about funeral and burial options. What developed was a full family-directed experience, from hospice care to after-death care to burial beside the stone wall on the edge of the family’s property, located near Squam Lake in NH (that became known to the world as Golden Pond in Ernest Thompson’s play and subsequent movie). Pemi Baker Hospice chaplain, Mary Francis Drake, and Karin and Jennifer talk about their experiences, exploring the continuum of care question many home funeral guides are most curious to achieve.

Facilitator: Lee Webster, NHFA President. Download or listen to replay below.

March 13, 2016: “I’m Sorry to Hear” 

Rachel Zeldin, founder of “I’m Sorry to Hear” which is an online resource developed to help people research funeral services vendors, leave and read funeral vendor reviews, and access educational funeral planning resources.

Facilitator: Zalene Corey, NHFA Board member. Download or listen to replay below.

February 14, 2016: Open air cremation in Colorado

photo of people building fire at Creston End of Life Project, outdoor cremation and green burialThe Crestone End Of Life Project (CEOLP) operates one of the only legal, open-air cremation sites in the state of Colorado. This ancient and inspirational end-of-life choice returns the body to its original fire and air elements. Family or friends of the deceased work with CEOLP staff to plan the ceremony, and various teams from our organization are trained to produce a deeply meaningful context for marking the passage of a loved one into death, including home funerals.

Facilitator: Lauren Carroll, NHFA Board member. Download or listen to replay below.

January 10, 2016: Jewish After Death Care Tradition
jewish-imagesThe Jewish after death practice of “Tahara” is a customary washing ceremony that has been practiced throughout the millennia. Rabbi Avivah Erlick, Holly Blue Hawkins and Sally Shannon described the funeral preparations, ceremony and share stories for this age old ritual. You can learn more about the Tahara here at Sacred Waters.

Facilitator: Lee Webster, NHFA President. Replay not available due to technical difficulties.

December 13, 2015: When a baby dies: the home funeral story of Baby Burton
Home Funeral of a babyWhen Burton’s parents knew their son was dying, they wanted to bring ceremony and meaning to the situation to honor his journey. Listen to Alicia and Derek Ormerod tell their story with Kateyanne, their Home Funeral Guide and Celebrant. You can read more about their journey here.

Facilitator: Kateyanne Unullisi, co-author of Home Funeral Ceremonies, NHFA board member. Listen to replay.

November 8, 2015: Creating and sustaining a home funeral community in your citylogo image of minnesota-threshold-network
Members of the Minnesota Threshold Network  have been educating and advocating for Home Funerals for over seven years. They discussed how to bring a strong community of home funeral support into your own community. They talked about how they started, how they keep it going, and lessons learned.

Facilitator: Anne Murphy, NHFA board member. Listen to replay

October 11, 2015: Trends, Stories & Connections

Whether you made it to the 2015 NHFA conference in beautiful Los Gatos, CA or not, you’ll want to listen to the conference highlights, and comments from attendees.

Facilitators:  Anne Murphy and Lauren Carroll, NHFA Board members. Listen to replay

Karen_WyattSeptember 13, 2015: The Death Positive Movement
Dr. Karen Wyatt, hospice physician, author of What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying, and master interviewer for End of Life University, discusses why she chose to take on death-related interviews and what she has learned that has changed her life.

Facilitator: Lee Webster, NHFA President. Listen to replay

Ellen_Macdonald2August 9 2015: The Reluctant Home Funeral Guide
A discussion with Ellen Macdonald of Eloise Woods Natural Burial Park. Although she only wanted to open a green cemetery, she’s had to wear the hat of home funeral guide, funeral officiant, and grave digger. You’ll appreciate Ellen’s down-to-earth manner and sense of humor as she tells some of her stories from the graveyard.

Facilitator: Donna Belk, NHFA board member. Listen to replay

July 2015: Sharing Home Funeral Stories
“Of course that’s what you’re doing . That’s what you should do. What else would you do?”said a young Nigerian doctor to home funeral guide, Peg Lorenz. Listen to this and much more as we all share home funeral stories.

Facilitator: Lee Webster, NHFA President. Listen to replay