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LAST WORDS: A BOSTON GLOBE SPOTLIGHT REPORT

Pastor Gloria’s latest mission: Encouraging more frank talk about end-of-life issues in Boston’s Black community - and beyond

Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church prayed with Margaret Pless-Hunter at her home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston. They prayed together and talked about Margaret's health.
Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church prayed with Margaret Pless-Hunter at her home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston. They prayed together and talked about Margaret's health.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The Rev. Gloria White-Hammond and her husband, the Rev. Ray Hammond, are both physicians and longtime co-pastors of the Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain. White-Hammond — known in her church as Pastor Gloria — has devoted much of the past five years to encouraging her parishioners and others to complete their advance directives about end-of-life care.

Related: Death in Massachusetts, by the numbers

The Rev. Gloria White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church said goodbye after visiting with Margaret Pless-Hunter at her home in the Hyde Park. Pless-Hunter said she has tumors on her brain and kidney as well as multiple myeloma (cancer.) She also said she has constant back pain from compressed discs.
The Rev. Gloria White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church said goodbye after visiting with Margaret Pless-Hunter at her home in the Hyde Park. Pless-Hunter said she has tumors on her brain and kidney as well as multiple myeloma (cancer.) She also said she has constant back pain from compressed discs. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Related: About this project

"I am ready to go so I talk to God about that,'' said Pless-Hunter, visiting in her home with White-Hammond. "I just don't want to be in a lot of pain but I don't want to be resuscitated."
"I am ready to go so I talk to God about that,'' said Pless-Hunter, visiting in her home with White-Hammond. "I just don't want to be in a lot of pain but I don't want to be resuscitated." Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
White-Hammond followed a hearse to Forest Hills Cemetery following a funeral at Bethel AME Church in  Jamaica Plain.
White-Hammond followed a hearse to Forest Hills Cemetery following a funeral at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
With her husband, the Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, and the Rev. Norma J. Burnham, the White-Hammond prayed before a funeral at Bethel AME Church.
With her husband, the Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, and the Rev. Norma J. Burnham, the White-Hammond prayed before a funeral at Bethel AME Church.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Hammond and White-Hammond presided over a funeral celebrating longtime Bethel AME Church member Violet Shepherd.
Hammond and White-Hammond presided over a funeral celebrating longtime Bethel AME Church member Violet Shepherd. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Hammond and White-Hammond cofounded Bethel AME Church in the late 1980s.
Hammond and White-Hammond cofounded Bethel AME Church in the late 1980s.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
White-Hammond greeted Jonell Johnson at the funeral of Shepherd.
White-Hammond greeted Jonell Johnson at the funeral of Shepherd.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
The co-pastors departed Shepherd's burial at Forest Hill Cemetery.
The co-pastors departed Shepherd's burial at Forest Hill Cemetery.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

This photo gallery is part of the “Last Words” three-part series that can be found at www.bostonglobe.com/last words.