Episcopal Priests and Mothers Release Children’s Book on Dying, Death, and Heaven

Christ Church, Raleigh
Posted Oct 5, 2018

Episcopal priests and mothers The Rev. Mary Davila and The Rev. Sarah Kinney Gaventa have released their first children’s book, Grandpa’s Tent. The book is a resource for children and families as they experience death, perhaps for the first time. The book walks through the process of saying goodbye, attending a funeral, and grieving loss, while explaining what the Bible says about death and life after death.

“As a parish priest at Christ Church in Raleigh, I often am asked for book recommendations for children that talk about these difficult subjects,” Davila said. “While there are numerous wonderful books that address one or more of these topics [illness, death, grief and heaven], Sarah and I wanted to create something more all-encompassing; something direct yet gentle; something that is honest about what we know about this life – that we all die – and yet, generous in its embracing of the mystery of what awaits us in the future.”

Grandpa’s Tent is published by Forward Movement and is available for purchase via Forward Movement and Amazon.

The Very Rev. Randy Hollerith, Dean of The Washington National Cathedral said, “We live in culture that is obsessed with youth and youthfulness. As a result, many people are unequipped and ill-prepared to cope with the process of death and dying. Grandpa’s Tent deals openly and honestly with these issues while beautifully conveying the promise and hope of our faith.”


The Rev. Mary Davila is assistant rector at Christ Church, an Episcopal church located on Capitol Square in downtown Raleigh.

The Rev. Sarah Gaventa, also an Episcopal priest, serves as the Dean of Students at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas.