Thank you for joining us for the Living & Dying series

In this free educational series, Living & Dying – Dilemmas Facing the Modern Age, we explored how to best prepare ourselves and our loved ones as we face the life and death decisions that will come for all of us.

Watch the series below by clicking on the two Watch Now buttons and find Resources for planning your funeral.

Past Sessions

Planning Your FuneralSunday, Jun. 26, 2022

Cremation or casket burial? Why deny yourself the privilege of making your own testimony of faith at the time of your death? A clergy member will discuss how to plan for a Christian funeral and memorial service.

Watch Now

Please click on the links below to learn more about planning your funeral.

  1. Non-Eucharistic Funeral Outline
  2. 2022 Funeral & Memorial Services Handbook
  3. Contact Lynn Lemberger – Holy Wisdom Monastery members are invited to schedule an appointment to plan their funeral, if hosting at Holy Wisdom
  4. Learn More About the Holy Wisdom Memorial Courtyard 


Chaplain Steve Zwettler has over 45 years’ experience in pastoral care and support for persons in need. He has worked as a pastor, high school teacher, spiritual director, counselor and minister to persons with developmental disabilities.

In particular, he has served as a Hospital Chaplain and a HospiceCare Chaplain in the Madison area for the past 25 years, providing spiritual and emotional support to patients and families in crisis situations and at end of life. Steve leads funeral services at Gunderson Funeral Home and provides Grief Support Visits in Gunderson’s After Care Program to those who seek support after the funeral of their loved one.

He is supportive and receptive to people of all religious traditions, spiritualities and ways of life. Steve believes that compassion and understanding bind us all together as one human family. He and his wife Barbara live in Madison.

Introduction to Cremation and Columbaria
March 27, 2022

Cremation has now become more popular than casket burial. Hear about the advantages of cremation and why more than 1.4 million Americans are cremated each year. This will also be an opportunity to learn about the current plans for our Memorial Courtyard (repository for ashes).

Watch Now

Jennifer Heimdahl has been a licensed funeral director for 20 years and a part of the Cress Family since 2008. She was born and raised in Trempealeau and Blair, Wisconsin. She attended the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse and transferred to Minneapolis, to complete her education at the University of Minnesota’s Mortuary Science Program, earning her Bachelor of Science degree. She is a member of the McFarland American Legion Auxiliary and enjoys yoga and many outdoor activities. “It’s a natural curiosity to wonder how someone decides to choose this career; for me, losing loved ones at a young age gave me perspective that funerals are tributes and a valuable part of the grieving process. That understanding inspired me to pursue a career offering that help and support to families through their times of tragedy and loss.”

Desiree Paananen has been in the death care profession for more than 10 years.  Her passion began with creating life-honoring granite memorials in the greater Milwaukee area.  Desiree then relocated to Kansas City where she worked in cemeteries and funeral homes helping families with an array of death care needs. She then moved back to Wisconsin to be closer to and take care of her family.  Since moving back to Wisconsin, Desiree joined the Cress Funeral and Cremation Services.  During her few years at Cress, Desiree has experienced a multitude of service offerings.  Desiree enjoys building relationships in the community and appreciates all the wonderful people that unify Madison and its surrounding communities. Desiree exclaimed, “It is truly an honor to serve and be a part of such a wonderful community.”


For questions about this series, please contact Amy Ryan at, 608-836-1631, x124.