The Society held its 54th Annual General Meeting on May 15, 2011. A short business meeting was followed by a lively, wide-ranging talk on funerals and burial customs among a number of world religions.
The lecture was given by Mr. Wayne Walder, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in the eastern beach area of Toronto. His travels and sympathies informed his subject as he dwelled on the need for respect among cultures for varieties of customs, such as the intimate washing of the body by family members, the immediacy of burial or cremation, and even the place of flowers going back to Neanderthal man. Customs, he said, have emerged from long traditions of village culture rather than from formal religious regulations.
Members responded with questions and then moved into informal discussion over modest refreshments. It was altogether an informative and pleasant afternoon.
The AGM went well although our numbers were down. Next year the AGM will not be held on Mother’s Day.
Attendees agreed that Eya Donald Greenwood, a volunteer from the Trillium Gift of Life Network, was a delightful, wonderful speaker and absolutely inspiring. When her only son died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 29, she and her husband donated his eyes and organs. Tissue and bones were harvested as well and numerous people benefited from his donation. After only a couple of years, her husband died after numerous strokes, but he had made prior arrangements for tissue donations so he, too, was a donor. Eya said she doesn’t know who benefited from these transplantations, but still she feels good walking down the street or past a playground, wondering if she might be passing someone who is living a better life because of her loved ones’ donations.
Many thanks to members who have been generous with their donations to FAMS; your donations help to further the information and consumer advocacy work of our memorial society.
Ontario consumers as a whole benefit from the oversight and speaking out of memorial societies working together in the Federation of Ontario Memorial Societies, Funeral Consumers Alliance. FOOMS recently learned that the Ministry of Consumer Services was considering a change in the trusting requirements from 100% to 90% when consumers prepay for their funeral services. Such a change would allow funeral homes to take 10% before any service is provided. We suggest that members and the public write to their MPPs protesting the proposed change.
Please consider joining the Board of Trustees or other volunteer work for FAMS. Keeping up your skills in retirement will help the brain, body and spirit! If you leave a message on FAMS’ voice mail at 416-241-6274, a member of the Board will return your call.