Issue # 96 - December 2022


Dec. 3 - Online



with William Worden, PhD


Dec. 8 - 11 - LIVE!

Recovering from

Harmful Religion


Dec. 4 - ONLINE

The Date with Death Club

First Sunday each month


Dec. 6, 8, 13 and 15

Practices for Grieving

and Heartache

with Daniel Foor


ONGOING - Chicago, IL - LIVE!

Death: Life's Greatest Mystery

Field Museum



Feb. 18 - ONLINE

Third Annual Symposium on

Death and Bereavement Studies

  CE Credit Hours Available

See related story, below


May 11, May 25 and June 8


Managing Mothers Day

and Fathers Day

After the Death of a Child

Congratulations to Us!

I am very proud of this month's newsletter, and I hope you'll take some time to read all the articles.

This issue covers a wide range of topics that address everything about the work of The Conference on Death, Grief and Belief.

It's a bit of a challenge each month to come up with content that offers something for everybody, but I do my best to include everything from afterlife exploration, death awareness and bereavement to religious trauma, toxic theology and the dangers of Christian nationalism. Those topics sum up everything that's important to me, and I hope they are important to you as well.

This issue of the newsletter also happens to be issue # 96, which marks eight full years that I've been publishing it every month. If you are a new subscriber and would like a peek into our history, you can find our newsletter archives HERE, going back to our first issue in November 2014, when we started out as The Afterlife Conference.


Rev. Dr. Terri Daniel, CT, CCTP

End-of-Life Advisor, Interfaith Chaplaincy,

Bereavement and Trauma Support



Cultural Appropriation: Exploitation or Honoring?

These two articles each give an important perspective on how most of us (all of us?) are creating our own unique spiritual views and practices. Is it possible to be "spiritual but not religious" without borrowing beliefs and traditions from other cultures? Some say this is a form of exploitation, but it can also be a form of deep respsect. Read the two articles below for some interesting insights...


“For Halloween, I’m a problematic white woman aka shamanic healer,” Lakota comedian and actor Jana Schmieding quipped on Twitter last month in a post that gained over 10,000 “likes. ”Donning dyed feathers and clutching a smudge stick and a bag marked “ceremonial cacao,” Schmieding used her costume to challenge Indigenous appropriation in many a non-Native healing space. READ MORE...


Some forms of cross-tradition borrowing are positive. For me, borrowing is the bigger category and appropriation is the problematic form. And the reason it’s problematic, for me, is when the borrowing happens in conditions of injustice, oppression and power inequities... So a good intention doesn’t get you off the hook. You have to zoom out and look at bigger structures. READ MORE...

Celebrate Winter Solstice This Year

Speaking of stealing (or rejecting) religoius traditions, for those of you who are ready to relinquish the tacky commercialism and religious symbolism of Christmas, consider adopting the practice of celebrating Winter Solstice instead. Feel free to create your own rituals... Solstice is a natural time for releasing resentments and regrets from the darkness and focusing on bringing more light to yourself and to the world, so there are lots of little rituals and practices you can create to address that idea. If you'd like some tips for designing your own "Conscious Christmas," you might enjoy this article. 

Can We Please Stop Referring to "Stages" of Grief?

Sand paining by Katie Joe Suddaby

By now, most bereavement professionals know that the five stages of grief theory originated by Elizabeth Kubler Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying is not a viable model for assessing or treating bereaved individuals. Two of today's leading grief researchers -- Margaret Stroebe and Henk Schut-- boldly declared that the theory “should be discarded by all concerned (including bereaved persons themselves); at best, it should be relegated to the realms of history.”

It is disconcerting and dangerous when peer-directed support groups, self-proclaimed grief gurus and even credentialed professionals still refer to this theory. In a recent episode of the Ask Doctor Death podcast, Dr. Terri Daniel explains why the stage theory is still so present in our culture despite a steady stream of criticism in academia and countless commentaries on the why it should not be used in bereavement counseling. This content is part of a soon-to-be-published paper on The Stubborn Persistence of Grief Stage Theories. LISTEN HERE

America's Evolving Religious Landscape


Forty-five percent of Americans believe the U.S. should be a “Christian nation,” one of several striking findings from a sweeping new Pew Research Center survey examining Christian nationalism. But researchers say respondents differed greatly when it came to outlining what a Christian nation should look like, suggesting a wide spectrum of beliefs. READ MORE...


Ryan Burge is a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University, but he’s also a Baptist minister. For him, questions about the growth of nonreligion aren’t just theoretical. They’re personal too. During the decade or so he was finishing his academic training and starting a family, he saw membership at the small congregation he was pastoring drop by half. READ MORE...

Introducing Grief 2 Growth with Brian Smith!

If you haven't yet discovered Brian's Grief 2 Growth podcast, please drop by and listen when you have a minute. Brian is an exceptional interviewer, and has recorded programs with some of the most interesting people in the fields of death and afterlife studies. Recently he interviewed Terri Daniel on a wide variety of topics, from hospice and bereavement work to mysticism and spirituality. LISTEN HERE

Bereavement Research Project

Dr. Jessica Thomas, a professor and grief educator, has researched and developed a mindful photography and journal writing practice for processing grief. She is looking for individuals who would be interested in contributing to a forthcoming publication on this topic. Please apply if you:

(1) Want to revisit a place of meaning in connection with a dead loved one.  

(2) Are anticipating the loss of a pet or recently lost a pet. 

(3) Are living with a terminal illness. 

If you or someone you know might be interested, email Dr. Thomas HERE.

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. PRN Social Worker

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If you or anyone you know is interested, please email


Six CE Credit Hours!

Cultivating Radical Resilience:

An Online Workshop

Feb. 18. 2023 

The third annual Symposium on Death and Bereavement Studies presents a unique online seminar in which you'll work interactively with some of today's most respected leaders in the field. Six CE credit hours available!

Join us for a day of unique content, experiential processes and interactive group exercises covering critical issues in bereavement not generally addressed in traditional counseling or support group settings.  DETAILS HERE

Symposium Presenters

Terri Daniel, DMin, CT, CCTP

Rituals for Healing

and Restoration

Ken Doka, PhD

Resilience: A Socio-Ecological Framework 

Lucy Hone PhD:

Resilient Grieving:

Findings from Psychology 

Robert Neimeyer, PhD

Loss and the

Quest for Meaning

Rev. Caffie Risher

Resilience in

the BIPOC Community 

Panel Discussion

with Presenters

The Road to Resilience 


Our 2023 Conference will be Virtual Next Year.

Save the Dates!

Plans are in the works for our 2023 conference, and we'll be virtual this year. We've already got some fantastic speakers lined up, and will send you a link to the updated website as soon as more details are confirmed. In the meantime, please mark your calendar for July 8 and 9, 2023. CE credits will be available for live attendance. 

If you'd like to watch the video recordings of this year's conference, you can find them HERE.  

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Death, Grief and Belief Facebook Group

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