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Crestone End-of-Life Project

Community Involvement
Family & friends gathered at the cremation site process with their loved one to the pyre – William Howell

How to Participate

When a member, who has registered with us, dies, the duty of the Crestone End-of-Life Project is to fulfill that person's expressed end-of-life wishes, which he or she has set forth in a legal document and filed with us.

Once we receive a call that a registered community member has passed, our service goes into immediate action. The facilitator calls the Care-of-the-Body team, who go to the home of the deceased and begin the process of washing and anointing and clothing the loved one who has passed, always involving the family as much as they wish. Our family team tends to any needs or errands the family requires, including grief issues and accommodating those who will be coming to pay their respects and say goodbye to the deceased, who will lie in state and be kept cool for up to 3 days. Our Site Team and Fire Team begin readying the open-air cremation site and collecting all the materials for the dawn cremation ceremony, which will be attended by all in our community who wish to come and participate with prayers, poems, songs, stories and silence.

Those who would like to participate in the work of CEOLP can call 719-588-4258 and speak with Stephanie Gaines, founder of CEOLP, and plan to attend one of our monthly meetings (second Tuesdays at 7 PM). Opportunities for service are in community education and/or one of our teams: *Care-of-the Body Team *Family Team *Family Liaison *Facilitation Team *Site Team *Pyre Team *Website Team (

CEOLP is blessed to serve the vision of life and death being one, and to be renewed in our vision, re-inspired in our efforts, refined in our service, and refreshed in our dedicated energies. Those who have attended an open-air cremation usually refer to it as 'awe-inspiring'. Our group of volunteers always feels honored to serve in this way.

What You Can Do

The Crestone End-of-Life Project (CEOLP) is a volunteer service effort in our Crestone/Baca community to take loving responsibility for those who wish our services once they die. We are primarily an educational organization focusing on informing our community members of their end-of-life rights and end-of-life choices (traditional and green burial, and traditional and open-air cremation). We encourage the members of our community, and everyone, to make their end-of-life wishes known, by filling out a "Five Wishes" document or Colorado Form 20. Then the family members understand exactly what their loved one wishes to happen when he or she passes.

CEOLP is fortunate to have the only legal open-air cremation pyre site in the country. Since our inception in 2007, we have served 20 community members who have registered with us for this service, and then then passed away. While open-air cremation is only one end-of-life option, because it is such an ancient, natural, intimate and moving way to deal with the body, most of those whom we serve have selected this option.

This work is so very rewarding that we welcome anyone who wishes to participate in whatever manner they wish--either educationally or in more hands-on service when a loved one in our community passes. We have various teams who do specific work in informing and serving those who are interested in our help. Lives transform when a community serves one of its own who has died, and the families of the deceased are always deeply grateful.

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