Children’s Grief Connection with the endorsement  of MFDA is launching the “Pandemic Roundtable”, a free  virtual meeting place for Funeral Directors. The Roundtable is an open forum for funeral directors and their employees  to address challenges faced during the COVID 19 pandemic and discuss strategies and solutions. The Roundtable meets on Zoom, Wednesdays, May 20  – June 17, 3:00-4:00 pm. As this is an online forum, participation by funeral directors anywhere in the U.S. is encouraged.  Attendance at each session is not required but preferred, participants are asked to sign on at or before 3 pm and will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement as sensitive information may be exchanged. Please register your interest by following the link here and entering your name and email address. 

The Pandemic Roundtable facilitators, Julie Domogalla and Alex Treitler have over 40 years combined experience in serving funeral directors and grieving families. Julie is a Thanatologist with a degree from Marian University, a certified facilitator and has led grief support groups for many years. She now runs Under Blue Skies, LLC; a grief hermitage in Askov, MN. Alex is the Executive Director of Children’s Grief Connection. He has degrees in Divinity and Theology from Uppsala University in Sweden and Union Theological Seminary in New York. Alex served congregations in Stockholm, Sweden and was Organization Director of Spiritual Care for Augustana Care/Cassia in Minnesota. He has officiated at hundreds of funerals in Sweden and the U.S.  As a participant and to offer the celebrant’s perspective in the group, Alex and Julie have invited John Marboe, who works with numerous funeral directors to provide spiritual care and funeral rituals for grieving families. John is Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, E.L.C.A., St. Paul and Community Faculty at the U of M.To register your interest in the Pandemic Roundtable, please click here. If you have questions, please contact Alex by email  alex@childrensgriefconnection.com, or call/text (651) 395-8177. 

Julie S. Domogalla, MS, is the owner of Under Blue Skies, where she works as a Thanatologist providing grief support for individuals through compassionate accompaniment, spiritual guidance, education and advocacy in a hermitage retreat setting.  Her focus in research includes serving rural individuals, in bereavement care and more specifically in perinatal loss.  She is an active presenter at conferences and workshop training.  Julie is a volunteer serving as a facilitator for grief support groups, both in person and on telehealth portals.

In the profession of a funeral director, the challenges of serving families is complicated in this pandemic.  Our conversations and inspirations will provide a sharing of ideas and struggles.  Further, we hope the participants find a welcoming group of individuals who share and support one another.

Julie lives on a rural farm with her husband and several animals.   Together they have five adult children.  Julie loves camping, hiking, kayaking, and making music.  Recently she has taken time to learn how to play acoustic guitar.  This will be her fifth instrument in her repertoire.

Alex Treitler is the Executive Director of Children’s Grief Connection. He has over 25 years’ experience in Spiritual Care and was most recently the Organization Director of Spiritual Care at Augustana Care of Minnesota.

“I have a lot of experience from groups I’ve led and groups I’ve been a part of how much learning can happen,” Alex says. “Especially in a time like this, it’s easy to get stuck when you’re isolated. I think that the Pandemic Roundtable can help us all get unstuck and do better.”

Alex has four children ranging in age from 30 to 8 and two grandchildren, ages seven and five. Two of Alex’s greatest interests are travel and language. He is also a lover of jazz, R&B, soul and klezmer music.

John Marboe is Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church (ELCA) in St. Paul, MN. He works “on call” with funeral directors across the Metro to provide spiritual care and funeral services for families in need. John teaches courses on “Youthwork and Spirituality” in the Youth Studies program at the University of Minnesota. He holds a PhD in Mythological Studies

I look forward to this round table forum, not only as a way to share and learn information in response to the extraordinary challenges we face today, but also as a space to share at the level of heart. Our work is extra stressful. Yet in meaningful connections there is the opportunity to find strength and to grow as service and care providers.

John lives in the historic W.7th neighborhood of St. Paul with his wife Andrea and daughter Charlie (17). He is active in interfaith dialogue with other faith leaders, plays tennis and guitar, and rides a scooter.

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