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Canadian Church Hosts Assisted Suicide Service for Member

The statement adopted by the Executive of the General Council continues, “The issue of Medical Assistance in Dying is one that needs ongoing reflection and dialogue in communities of faith. It may be chosen as a faithful option in certain circumstances. At the same time, there are many challenges that have emerged since this option became available, challenges both spiritual and practical. While the right of terminally ill patients under the legislation needs to be honored, affirmation of this legislation must be accompanied by protection and care of the most vulnerable in our society and by universal, equal access to palliative care.”

In conclusion, The United Church of Canada’s Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee says, “It must recognize and respect the challenge Medical Assistance in dying can pose for health care professionals. It must also be accompanied by an affirmation of the dignity and intrinsic worth of every life in relation to community.”

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Churchill Park United Church minister Rev. Dawn Rolke told The Christian Post, “For us, it was perfectly natural to hold this service for Betty in our sanctuary, because death is a natural part of life and Betty had lived a good part of her adulthood in this faith community. Hers was a growing, changing spirituality; her faith was feisty, fierce and passionate, like Betty herself.”

“Some see medically-assisted death as a private matter and they sought to honor this individual’s request,” Rolke explained. “Some felt it was right for Betty, in particular.”

The minister shared that no one has objected or expressed concern that the ceremony took place at the church.

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Rolke said, “We were deeply honored to be able to be with Betty in her final moments and hours and to honor her wishes around her dying process,” and explained that, “she was so happy, she was so ready, she was so radiant.”