Spring Education Day 2020

“Crossing the Threshold:  Equipping Professional Chaplains in End-of-Life Care”

Facilitated by J. Dana Trent

J. Dana Trent

The NCCA will gather for a Spring Education Day on April 30, 2020 at Dogwood on Lake Norman, located at 7062 Camp Dogwood Drive in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.  We will enjoy three sessions with Dana, resulting in 4.5 hours of Continuing Education.  This event is a one-day event (our longer event in 2020 will be in the Fall).  There will be opportunities for participants to gather the evening prior to our education day to participate in peer review committees (you will need to form the groups, but we are happy to get you started), work on certification materials with peers (again, we are just helping you find each other), NCCA Exchange offerings, or fellowship/ relax on beautiful Lake Norman.

Centered on her recently released book, Dana Trent, will be offering a special time of reflecting on how those in the professional practice of spiritual care provide meaning to the journey toward end of life to patients and families in their practice.  But more importantly, we will look at how we also provide meaning and care to our own soul in the process.  All registered attendees will receive a copy of Dana’s book, Dessert First.


Wednesday, April 29th

2:00pm      Executive Board Meeting

4:00pm      Lodging Check-In Begins

6:00pm      Dinner at Dogwood for Overnight Guests

7:00pm      Evening Activities:  BCC Peer Review Groups (self-directed)

                  The Exchange—“Chaplain-Sourcing”

Have a really great resource to share?  Done an event that was truly meaningful?  Come bring your notes, photos, and ideas to display so other chaplains can benefit from your experience.  *Be sure to bring multiple copies of your information for folks to take back with them!

8:00pm      Registration and Dessert Social (all attendees welcome)

Thursday, April 30th

8:00am      Breakfast at Dogwood for Overnight Guests

8:30am      Registration

9:00am      Welcome and Introduction of the Speaker

9:15am      Session A:  “Sabbath for the Chaplain: Refilling the Well in Order to Hold Space”

10:30am    Break

10:45am    Session B: “Dessert First: Practices & Spiritual Care for the Dying and Bereaved”

12:00pm    Lunch at Dogwood for All Attendees and Their Guests

1:00pm      NCCA Business Session and Election of New Officers

1:30pm      Session C: “One Breath at a Time: A Chaplain’s Guide to Meditation”

2:45pm      Q & A with the Author

3:15pm      Closing Remarks

Dogwood Conference Center on Lake Norman

A Glimpse at our Day…

Session 1:  Sabbath for the Chaplain: Refilling the Well in Order to Hold Space

Chaplaincy can be exhausting.  How does the professional chaplain sustain their professional expertise and energy amid growing needs?  This session will provide practical wisdom on how a regular practice of sabbath rest, worship, and community has the power to refill and shape us—and sustain our ongoing professional care for others.  We will dive into a brief history of spirituality as well as examine the practical when, why, and how of achieving balance and renewal amid a 24-7 society.

Session 2:  Dessert First: Practices and Spiritual Care for the Dying and Bereaved

What do the dying and bereaved really need?  This workshop will focus on equipping chaplains for end-of-life care and grief support for patients and families.  It will provide an explanatory didactic on needs as well as practical tools for serving faithfully amid what many scholars deem the upcoming “Silver Tsunami” of aging Americans entering the final state of life.

Session 3: One Breath at a Time: A Chaplain’s Guide to Meditation

As professionals dedicated to serving with understanding, love, and empathy, we need reminders of what roots and nourishes us in the why of our service.  In this session we will enjoy refreshing reminders about our own contemplative spiritual practices and why they are essential to sustaining and shaping our continued care for patients and families.

Meet Dana…

Photo credit: @imageisfound

Dana Trent is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and professor of World Religions and Critical Thinking at Wake Tech Community College. An ordained Baptist minister and former hospital chaplain (University of North Carolina Hospital, Chapel Hill), her work has appeared on Time.com, and in Religion News Service, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, and The Christian Century. Publishers Weekly calls her fourth book, Dessert First: Preparing for Death While Savoring Life “poignant,” “hilarious,” “practical.” She is also the award-winning author of One Breath At a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation, For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community and Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk. Dana winds down from writing and teaching with episodes of “The Young and the Restless” as well as leading group fitness training classes for the YMCA.

About Dessert First…

What if we embraced death as a sweet part of life, rather than a dreaded landmark? How would that shape the way we think about death, dying and grief … and how we live, now?    

In the year she served as a chaplain in a hospital “death ward,” J. Dana Trent accompanied more than 200 people — and their families — on their passage from life to death. Using personal narratives, Dessert First: Preparing for Death While Savoring Life captures life lessons on death and grief learned at the bedsides of the dying, including Dana’s own mother. Dessert First illuminates the end-of-life complexities: why we avoid talking about and planning for it, and how we might instead prepare for a “good death.” 

Dessert First is a deeply personal, touching, and sometimes even humorous look at death and dying, including the ways we cope when facing the inevitable end of life. Vignettes examine meaning, while practical resources help the reader begin with the end in mind. Final chapters include religious, spiritual, and legal resources.

This book is a companion on a journey of considering death—our own and our loved ones’—as a sweet spiritual part of life, rather than a dreaded destination. Discover tools for creating meaning-making at the end of life and in grief—for yourself and for those whom you love.

Hear what those who have read the book are saying…

“In this disarmingly forthright and often funny book, Dana Trent reminds her readers that we’re all terminal, and we’ll all ride the grief train sooner or later—so why not start the conversation now?  Her ability to convey what she has learned as a hospital chaplain, a daughter, and a teacher grounds every page in the real world, making it impossible to resist her invitation to begin thinking about The End in a life-giving way. –Barbara Brown Taylor, Author of An Altar in the World

“If grief is the language of love, this unflinching book shows us how to love a little deeper.” –Kate Bowler, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved)

“Dessert First really helped me.  It helped me prepare for the deaths of people I love.  It helped me prepare for my own death.  Don’t worry: it isn’t a book written by Miss Morbidity.  J. Dana Trent is funny and professional and human, exactly the kind of person you want to help you face life’s one actual certainty.”  –Brian D. McLaren, Author/ Activist

“Dessert First is a delicious treat—nourishing and enjoyable.  A timely reminder not to neglect the things that matter most.  Practical, truthful, needed.” –Philip Gulley, Quaker Author of If the Church Were Christian

“There is great freedom in accepting the reality of death.  There is even joy.  And possibly—a great deal of humor.  It is all here in “Dessert First,” a book about death that adds up to the fullness of life implied by the title.  Dig in.”     Erin Wathen, Author of Resist and Persist: Faith and the Fight for Equality and Patheos Blog ‘Irreverin’

Go to jdanatrent.com to access free resources or to learn more about Dana’s published works and blog.

Chaplains enjoying Lake Norman at a Previous Event

The Details

  • Registration is open through Friday, April 3, 2020.
  • We have Member, Non-Member, and Student Rates.
  • We welcome commuters and overnight guests.
  • Overnight guests receive lodging and dinner on Wednesday, April 29, 2020; breakfast, lunch, the day of education, and a copy of Dessert First. There are opportunities for fellowship, finding folks for peer review or certification circles, or further education after dinner on Wednesday.  Please indicate your choices in registration.
  • Commuters receive the day of education, lunch, and a copy of Dessert First. If commuters wish to participate in the exchange, peer review or certification circles, or fellowship on Wednesday, they are encouraged to indicate their choices in registration.
  • Overnight guests need to know the name of their roommate at the time of registration in order to get the shared room rate (that rate is per person).
  • Overnight guests provide their own toiletries and personal items.
  • Attendees may elect to bring their own guest. Because we are at a non-profit conference center, we are charged per person per room rather than per room as in a motel.  Guests are expected to dine at the facility and are charged accordingly.
  • Late or cancelled registrations will incur a fee.
  • All payment must be received by April 10, 2020 to secure one’s seat. Registrants who have not paid by that time forfeit their place.

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