Euthanasia and Palliative Care Update

In our previous blog post, we outlined troubling recommendations in a Parliamentary committee’s recommendations for Physician-Assisted Dying legislation.  As many of you will have heard, the government tabled its proposed legislation, Bill C-14, in Parliament on April 14th .

Bill C-14 avoided the worst of the recommendations in the previous committee’s report (e.g. availability to minors and those with mental health conditions), but has significant shortcomings, such as a total lack of conscience protections for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who cannot be involved for reasons of conscience, and no requirement for a patient to receive a palliative care or psychiatric evaluation before receiving assisted death.

Bill C-14 is now before the Parliamentary standing committee on Justice which is conducting public hearings the week of May 2 and then considering amendments to the bill before sending it back to Parliament for a vote.  There is significant pressure being brought to bear on MP’s to pass amendments in committee to loosen the eligibility restrictions and safeguards in C-14 to make assisted death more widely available. 

The national office of our family of churches has put together this Urgent Action page to provide us with tools to help us quickly contact our MP’s to support amendments adding conscience protections to C-14, and holding the line on important restrictions to protect the vulnerable. Also available is this online tool offered by a health care conscience alliance enabling you to write directly to the Minister of Justice specifically regarding conscience protections.  Given the June 6th deadline for the legislation to be passed, the committee’s work will be quick, so now is the time to contact your MP if you have not done so already. 

Anyone with questions is welcome to contact Redemption’s own Geoffrey Trotter.

Euthanasia update: troubling parliamentary committee report released

In our previous blog post, we provided links to some very helpful resources prepared by our family of churches in helping us think well about death, dying, and Canada’s move towards euthanasia, and how we can show love and compassion to those at the end of life and those living with disabilities.

Since then, the Special Joint Parliamentary Committee on Physician-Assited Dying has issued its report, which contains a number of troubling recommendations for the federal legislation on this issue coming in the next 2-3 months, including recommendations that "physician assisted death" (i.e. assisted suicide/voluntary euthanasia) be made available to people with non-terminal conditions including mental health conditions, that mature minors should become eligible three years from now, and that doctors be forced to refer for assisted death regardless of any conscience objections.

The Church for Vancouver website has compiled some thoughtful Christian commentary on the Parliamentary report, including a good 5-minute video from EFC’s Julia Beazley which is a good primer on the Parliamentary recommendations and why Christians should be concerned about them.

If you would like to engage with your MP on this issue, see the links in our previous blog post, or contact Redemption’s own Geoffrey Trotter.

Euthanasia and Palliative Care Update and opportunity to engage

Affirming the human dignity of all and expressing care and compassion to the disabled, lonely, elderly, and dying is part of our call as Christians.  In our February 6 blog post a couple of weeks ago we provided a link to the ecumenical Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide which a number of people in our congregation read and signed.

To help us continue to engage with this issue reflectively, through service, and as citizens, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (the umbrella organization for Canadian evangelicals including the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada of which our church is a part) has just this week posted some excellent resources which may be of interest, including: 

  1. An excellent booklet titled Euthanasia + Palliative Care: A Guide for Canadians containing thoughtful writings from J.I. Packer and other Faith Today authors, with reflection questions, on such topics as: what the gospel has to say about sickness, weakness and dying; palliative care; the issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia; and how Canadian Christians are showing the love of Christ by caring for the dying.  
  2. A call to action inviting us to become informed and to engage our various Members of Parliament about this issue over the next 1-2 weeks, as Parliament prepares to legislate this spring in response to last year's Supreme Court decision which called for exemptions in the prohibition on assisted suicide/euthanasia for certain people who have grievous and irremediable medical conditions.  As citizens we have the opportunity to urge Parliament to respond with legislation which upholds the sanctity of life, includes stringent safeguards against abuses seen in other countries, provides for universally accessible palliative care so that no one will feel 'forced' to 'choose' assisted suicide, and protects the conscience rights of health care workers so that no one will be forced to participate in killing a patient against their religious or moral beliefs.
  3. A number of suggestions for how individuals, families, and churches can be involved in caring for the sick and dying.

A member of our congregation, Geoffrey Trotter, has been involved in the court cases on this issue and will give some more background at both services this Sunday (February 21st), and will be available to continue the conversation informally between the services.  Feel free to also contact Geoffrey directly with your questions or to share what you or your Oikos are already doing to express the love of Jesus to our sick, disabled, and elderly neighbours!

Declaration on Euthanasia

As many with our community are aware from news reports, the Supreme Court has given Parliament until early June to pass legislation to permit assisted suicide for certain people who have grievous and irremediable medical conditions.  The Parliamentary Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying is currently performing consultations and will report back to Parliament at the end of this month with its recommendations.  Numerous faith communities and the disability community are highly engaged in urging Parliament to respond with legislation which upholds the sanctity of life, includes stringent safeguards against abuses, and provides for universally accessible palliative care so that no one will feel 'forced' to 'choose' assisted suicide.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the umbrella organization for Canadian evangelicals including the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada of which our church is a part, has partnered with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in drafting an ecumenical Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.  The Declaration is online and electronic petition signatures are being collected which will be submitted to Parliament together with the Declaration shortly (by some reports, by this Saturday, February 6).

If this topic is important to you, we invite you to follow the link below to the Declaration, and to consider adding your signature via the link at the bottom if you are in agreement.  

http://www.euthanasiadeclaration.ca/declaration/

Praying for the Persecuted

Praying for the Persecuted

This Sunday November 8th is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. More Christians are persecuted and killed for their faith than ever before in the history of the world – shocking, but true. In this weeks blog, Steve Colby helps us understand what we can do and how we are to respond.

Mission Pilgrims: Ebola Update in Sierra Leone

Check out this interview between Steve Colby and Matthew Brima, the General Secretary of SLEFES (Sierra Leone Fellowship of Evangelical Students). Matthew provides an update about the Ebola crisis in Western Africa. 

Many thanks to Greta Taxis for filming the interview at the cozy Colby home.