A cooperative helps take the stress away of organising a funeral, and offers emotional and psychological support to the Christian community.
Bereaved families who have lost their loved ones can find comfort at the Methodist Co-operative Society’s one-stop centre for bereavement for the Christian community. Called the Hosanna Bereavement Services, it takes away the stress of organising a funeral and offers emotional and psychological support through its affordable services.
The cooperative shared: “We believe that death is not the finality of our soul for there is a greater purpose for our existence. Having said that, we also understand that it does not make it any easier when our loved ones depart – be they the seniors or elderly, the sick or the unfortunate ones. It is the cooperative’s social mission to help these bereaved families cope during this difficult time of grief and loss through this one-stop dignified bereavement service.”
The centre’s services include free professional and personal attention; labour and transportation; professional embalming; casket; tentage, tables and chairs; mobile toilet, snacks and beverages; and photography. It also offers obituary placement; application for permits and certificates for exhumation; booking of crematorium, niche arrangement; ash collection; run/slab supply; land and sea burial; and international repatriation.
Members of the Methodist Co-operative Society as well as church pastors, who are called home, are entitled to subsidised rates. These rates are also offered to families who cannot afford a full package on a case-by-case basis. According to the Co-operative, these families, particularly those underprivileged, would be offered the Co-operative’s office as a “quiet room” free-of-charge to hold their night vigil services and the cooperative’s chaplains are on-hand to provide counselling and ministry support to these families. In other cases such as when the deceased in a nursing home or hospice has no next-of-kin, the Co-operative will undertake all the necessary funeral arrangements to give the individual a “dignified send-off”.
The Methodist Co-operative Society was formed by like-minded Methodists under the auspices of the Council of Christian Social Concerns in 1995. Today, it has more than 1,000 members from various Christian denominations. Members of the cooperative also enjoy many other membership benefits such as discounted hotel stays and training courses. They can also participate in the Co-operative’s social and educational activities like tours to Malaysia and seminars on health and estate planning.
Cooperatives helping seniors
The Methodist Co-operative Society chose to go the route of a cooperative rather than a non-profit as it did not want to depend primarily on funding from its members and the community. The organisation explained: “We operate a profit-optimal model so that we are able to remain competitively-priced for sustainability reasons. Additionally, it is important that we not only do well (economically), but also do good (socially). Hence, we decided to opt for the cooperative business model as it provides a good balance for both.”
Methodist Co-operative Society is not the only cooperative affiliated to the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) that is senior-related. Out of the 67 cooperatives, here are those that are senior-related – NTUC Health Co-operative Ltd (mobile dental, pharmacy, nursing home), The Good Life Co-operative (mobile health screening), Silver Caregivers Co-operative (training for caregivers), Silver Horizon Travel Co-operative (leisure and travel activities), SASCO (day care facilities), Co-operative of SCDF Employees (retired firemen), Premier Training Co-op Society (trained uniformed officers) and Seacare Co-operative (displaced or retired personnel).