Webinar from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music to Launch June 21

The Yale Institute of Sacred Music is sponsoring a free four-session webinar series entitled: Accompanying the Dying and the Dead in the Time of COVID.

John August Swanson, “A Time to Heal” (c.) 2016

The short description of the series focuses the task through  these timely questions:

  • How can we provide better care for the dying, and meaningful funerals or memorials for those who have been lost?
  • What can history teach us about how our ancestors coped and ministered in times of plague?
  • How do we think theologically about the effect of COVID-19 on faith communities amid God’s eternal presence and promises?

The series will be moderated by Thomas Long, author of the acclaimed book, Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral. 

Panelists will include an international array of church musicians, musicologists, pastors, grief counselors, funeral directors, and more. Here is a partial list: James Abbington, Jennifer L. Hollis, Michael L. Lewis, John Horan, Jennifer McBride, Remi Chiu, Vanessa Harding, Markus Rathey, James Starke, Dawn DeVries, Kevin Park, and Khalia Williams.

The four parts of the program are as follows:

  • Accompanying the Dying
  • Memorializing the Dead
  • Caring for the Dying and the Dead: Looking to History for Insights


  • Thinking Theologically About Our Response to COVID

The webinar series will be carried on Zoom, and participants can join one or all of the sessions. “Designed for an interdisciplinary and ecumenical audience of pastors, liturgists, hospice workers, musicians, medical professionals, and others involved in caring for the dying and providing leadership for funerals and memorials, each session will conclude with an interactive Q&A period.”

I can add my personal recommendation, as I know some of these presenters and they are excellent. Having worked with the Yale ISM on other interdisciplinary projects, I am confident that this will be a rich and stimulating discussion, one well worth attending. In fact, I shall be attending!

Here is the link to the timetable, the full description, and registration information.


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