How Stephen Jenkinson came to Asheville. The inside story.
It all began a few months ago while I was visiting the Ramsey library at UNCA campus when I heard a voice from the other side of the counter call out hey Saïd….. It was my old friend Jake who I first met a few years before at a Thirdmessenger Dying to Live Improv Theater evening. At that time Jake had asked me if I had ever considered inviting Stephen Jenkinson to Asheville. Jenkinson had just released Die Wise which we saw as a prophetic piece , a voice in stirring the complacency in our establishment regarding end of life care and the impact on suffering and it contribution to a culture of fear, a death phobia.
The timing wasn’t right and fast forward to July 2017. A new possibility emerged after that chance encounter with Jake and with Stephen Jenkinson speaking for a weekend in November in North Carolina at another conference outside of Pittsboro. The idea hatched and a team of friends met to see whether or not Stephen had on his calendar a window where he would come to Asheville – happily the window was open, Stephen’s needs discussed and agreed to. Our team called Thirdmessenger and Friends swung into action and quickly things began to happen.
We secured the best venue in Asheville the Grand old Masonic Theatre.
Giving credit to the team first is a new member of our community Michael and Wendy Arbuckle newly arrived from Austin where a few years ago in Austin they hosted Stephen and sold out the house; Jake Aschenbrenner and some of our Thirdmessenger team including Greg, Karen, Aditi, Meredith. Finally two new important friends Blair and Cassie (who is the founder of Death Activism). The team in place and each member taking on tasks as well as networking and finding sponsors.
Happily our first encounter was with Carolina Memorial Sanctuary who immediately got on board, next Olli where Thirdmessenger has a rich relationship. They are hosts to our Death Cafe and generously helped offset expenses through covering marketing materials/printing.The Care Partners Foundation eagerly donated funds by purchasing a large block of tickets for their staff. Jubilee another supporter of Thirdmessenger’s Death cafe’ sponsored our event offering to spread the word within their very rich and vibrant community. And finally,The Conscious Dying Institute WHERE GREG IS staff in TRAINING SACRED PASSAGE DOUALS as part of their new Asheville School. Assisting us in a special role is Cassie of Death Activism offering much needed skills in social media.
So here we are looking forward to being with Stephen Jenkinson on November 6 and the hearing the musical prelude of contemplative fusion music.
Thirdmessenger is entering into a new chapter engaging community and in strengthening wonderful networks of new friends. So that’s our story! See you at the Masonic Temple theater.