Symposium on Death, Dying and Grief

A Child Dies: What do we do now?

April 21, 2015
A multi-religious symposium addressing the issues of death, dying and grief

Presented by Claremont School of Theology and sponsored by:
 Forest Lawn

Religious communities and their leaders help people cope with death. But the death of a child is particularly hard, and religious leaders and communities feel unprepared to respond. Death and grief trigger complicated emotions, and individual experiences vary. The expectations placed on religious communities and leaders are often greater than their preparation.

Claremont School of Theology and Forest Lawn have partnered to offer a multi-religious symposium intended to support religious leaders and their communities cope with death, dying and grief. Lectures will be balanced with time for small group discussion. The speakers at this all day symposium have had experience coping with the death of children and will offer guidance and insight in how to support family and loved ones.

To register click here.

Featured Speakers

Rev. Dagmar Grefe, PhD Rev. Dagmar Grefe, PhD is the manager of the Spiritual Care Services Program and Clinical Pastoral Education program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and Clinical Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a certified supervisor with the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. She has experience in congregational ministry and chaplaincy in general hospitals, hospice and mental health. Among her publications is the book Encounters for Change. Interreligious Cooperation in the Care of Individuals and Communities.

Rev. Carolyn Stahl Bohler, PhD Rev. Carolyn Stahl Bohler, PhD, spent 21 years as Professor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at United Theological Seminary and served for 39 years as a member of the Cal-Pac Annual Conference. During her time in Cal-Pac she served as Senior Pastor of several churches in Southern California.

She also served as chaplain of Simpson College and a Los Angeles area hospital, and was the Coordinator of Spiritual Life at CST. She earned a Rel. D. (’73) and Ph.D. (’81) from Claremont School of Theology.

A United Methodist minister, she grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the Religious Science faith and was influenced by many Jewish friends. The mother of two, among her 6 books is the children’s book, God is Like a Mother Hen and much much more. Her daughter is an architect and her son died during his first year of college, a decade ago. Her latest book, God the What? What Our Metaphors for God Reveal About Our Beliefs in God, includes the influence of his death upon her as she seeks to help us to speak of the Divine in ways that are congruent with what we genuinely believe.

Kamal Abu-ShamsiehKamal Abu-Shamsieh
Kamal Abu Shamsieh specializes in Islamic chaplaincy and is an international leader in training Muslims in the art of chaplaincy. He is presently a chaplain at Stanford University Hospital and Director of Muslim Spiritual Care Services, a non-profit serving Muslims in the Greater Fresno area. Kamal Abu Shamsieh pursued graduate study at Hartford Seminary, where he received an MA in Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. The focus of his doctoral work is to craft a practical methodology for pastoral care within Islam.


8:00-9:00 a.m. Registration Outside Mudd Theater
8:30-9:00 a.m. Welcome and opening Mudd Theater
9:00-10:00 a.m. Rev. Dagmar Grefe, PhD Mudd Theater
10:00-10:30 a.m. Break and snack
10:30-11:30 a.m. Small discussion groups Locations throughout campus
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Lunch & resource fair Haddon Conference Center and Klein Patio
12:30-1:30 p.m. Rev. Carolyn Stahl Bohler, PhD Mudd Theater
1:30-2:00 p.m. Break
2:00-3:00 p.m. Small discussion groups Locations throughout campus
3:00-3:30 p.m. Break and snack
3:30-4:30 p.m. Kamal Abu-Shamsieh Mudd Theater
4:30-5:00 p.m. Break
5:00-6:00 p.m. Small discussion groups Locations throughout campus
6:00-6:15 p.m. Closing ritual Mudd Theater


The symposium registration fee includes materials, attendance at all speakers and discussions, lunch and snacks. To encourage religious communities to send teams of people special group pricing has been made available.

Early bird registration by March 31 $60
Registration after March 31 $75
Group of 3 or more from the same organization $25 per person
CEU fee $30
Students and staff of CST, AJRCA, Bayan and UWest $10 for lunch, free without lunch

To register use the form below.

For group registration, or for questions, please call (909) 447-6361.