As modern technology prolongs life, a life well-lived can often end with a long and painful struggle. Increasingly we have choices about end-of-life options that give us greater control over when and how we die.
A “good death” is more likely when medical practitioners and those supporting the dying person are more informed about these options.
The Chapel Hill Zen Center is offering an hour discussion at 11 a.m. Sunday on the medical, ethical and legal issues involving Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking, a little-known, end-of-life option.
The discussion will be led by Elliott and Susan Schaffer, Durham residents, who will talk about Susan’s mother, who lived in a retirement community in New Jersey.
Elliott is a retired physician, a geriatrician who was formerly the medical director at Martins Run Life Care Community in Media, Penn. He has practiced Buddhism for 37 years. Susan is a retired attorney who was formerly senior counsel at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
He will discuss the medical, physiological and logistical issues that may come up in connection with this option. As a retired attorney, Susan will provide information about the legal issues and the ethical issues. Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking is legal in all 50 states.
The Chapel Hill Zen Center is located at 5322 NC Hwy. 86 north, two miles north of I-40 at exit 266.
Call the center for further information, 919-967-0861.
Jazz Vespers service
Duke Chapel will hold a “Jazz Vespers” worship service on Tuesday in collaboration with the Duke Jazz Program.
The 7:30 p.m. service, which combines the form of traditional evening vespers liturgy with the musical improvisation of jazz, lasts about an hour. The event is free and open to the public.
Duke music professor John Brown and his Big Band will provide musical direction for the event. Chapel Dean Luke Powery, students and local ministers will offer Scripture readings, poems and prayers.
Joshua Lazard, chapel minister for student engagement, is organizing the service.
“Jazz is a musical tradition that has roots in the church,” Lazard said. “With Jazz Vespers, we feel like the music is, in a sense, coming home to an environment that is led by the Spirit.”
Occurring during the church season of Lent, the service will have a theme of lament and its music will include elements of the blues.
Musical selections include, “We’ve Come This Far by Faith,” “Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child,” “Precious Lord” and “Down by the Riverside.”
The 23rd Annual Vigil Against Violence will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Shepherds House Church, 107 N. Driver St.
The event will honor and remember Durham’s 25 citizens who were victims of violence during the past year. Of that number, 82 percent of the victims with cause known, died from gunshot wounds.
Mental illness conference
Early bird registration ends March 20 for a day-long conference open to anyone who wants to learn more about mental illness and the community’s role in recovery.
Faith Connections on Mental Illness will hold its 5th annual conference on Friday, April 10, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church 940 Carmichael St. in Chapel Hill.
Keynote speaker Amy Simpson is senior editor of “Leadership Journal” and author of “Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission” and “Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry.”
Invited speaker the Rev. Alan Johnson, co-founder of Interfaith Network on Mental Illness, will lead discussions focusing on specific steps for congregations to start a mental health ministry.
Guest speakers Shelly Danser and John Gilmore will lead break-out sessions.
Registration is $25 per person before March 20 and $35 thereafter. Professional CEUs are optional for an additional $20 via Wake AHEC.
Register online at www.wakeahec.org or call 919-967-5403 for a mail-in registration form.
Since the conference draws attendees from across the state, early registration is recommended as attendance is capped at 300.
Faith Connections on Mental Illness is an inter-faith coalition of faith communities whose mission is working with all faith communities to welcome, include, support, educate and advocate for individuals and families who are living with mental illness.
College choir concert
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1200 W. Cornwallis Road, will host the Hope College Chapel Choir for a 5 p.m. concert on Sunday in the church sanctuary.
The choir, founded in 1938, is made up of about 40 auditioned singers from a cross-section of academic disciplines. The group has toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada and has traveled abroad on seven occasions.
The choir also performs in the annual Hope College Christmas Vespers program, broadcast throughout the country on PBS television and National Public Radio.
The concert is free and open to the public.
Church yard sale
The Spring Fling Yard Sale is on tap from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 1737 Hillandale Road.
Items for sale will include household goods, sporting goods, books, games, kitchen items, toys, pictures and art work, furniture, small appliances, tools, garden equipment and linens.
Proceeds will benefit the church’s outreach ministries.
Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church, 316 Hebron Road, will hold its annual Women’s Day celebration Sunday. The theme is “Women of God Living in the Knowledge and Image of God.”
Speaker at 7:55 a.m. is the Rev. Kathy Dunton of New Hope Granville Baptist Church in Oxford; speaker at 10:45 a.m. is Dr. Daphne Wiggins-Obie of Union Baptist Church in Durham.
Durham Congregations in Action will hold its monthly luncheon assembly at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 3011 Academy Road.
A panel conversation will include shared experiences of members from First Presbyterian, Fisher Memorial United Holy Church and Judea Reform Congregation who collaborated on building a Habitat for Humanity house. NAMI will share information about housing for people with mental illness and opportunities for faith communities.
Guest speaker for the Triangle Christian Businessmen’s Connection luncheon on Thursday, March 19, will be Anthony Dilweg, who will speak on “Spiritual Inflection.”
He is a 1989 graduate of Duke University and spent three years in the NFL as a quarterback before entering the commercial real estate business as a broker in 1993.
The luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, 4700 Emperor Blvd., costs $20 with advance registration, $25 at the door.
Contact Flo Johnston at email@example.com or call 910-361-4135.