Vol 12 No. 20 Fort Mac and Assisted Suicide

Dear friends,

First, some brief notes on Fort Mac as a reminder, an invitation and a re-primer of what we are doing together.  In collaboration with the larger Canadian family and with the assistance of CBM we are seeking to support those affected by the Fort McMurray fires.  As you remember from our website we are putting our energy and support into 3 categories: First, our personal relationships with individuals and churches in assisting evacuees; Second, assisting the Fellowship Baptist Church in Fort McMurray; Third, collaborating with our sisters and brothers in the Salvation Army.  I have been speaking to a senior Salvation Army officer who is entrusted with overseeing that relief work.  I discovered that they have a team of 30 that they are rotating in and out.  They are not yet sure whether their church or officers’ quarters are damaged.  On a different note, they are also supporting a large number of those fighting fires.  Victor Ku and Louanne Haugan are providing administrative and financial support from the Calgary office.  Dennis Stone and Sue Hunter are making decisions about how the money will be proportioned through the Edmonton office.  Your ongoing support and prayers in this area are sought after.

To my second topic: Legislation on Physician Assisted Dying.  We have written extensively on this in the past and have provided multiple resources for your thoughtful consideration.  Let me summarize where we are at the present moment… The Supreme Court has made a decision that Parliament must provide a new law on Assisted Dying in Canada.  This law will be enacted before the end of the first week in June.  There has been some progress but in many people’s view not enough progress on the following issues: protecting the vulnerable and insuring conscientious opting out for healthcare professionals.  Other aspects of concern to the public have also been raised.  The model that is on its way to being adopted has several flaws.  The 2 significant ones being: first, further study and review of the law is being left open so that in particular protection of the vulnerable may well yet be an issue. Secondly, the primary model that seems to be being embraced is the Belgian and Dutch model which is widely reported to have some serious flaws.

It is important that each of us as individuals and churches communicate to our local Member of Parliament, the Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould (email: Jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca), and the Prime Minister to ask that regular reviews of the law would be undertaken to ensure that the vulnerable continue to be protected and that significant government support would be provided for quality palliative care that is easily and readily accessible for any and all.

May I suggest that the preceding paragraph is placed in church bulletins, drawn attention to during announcements, and if at all possible read aloud to the congregation.  I know that the latter is a very unusual request and I know that these issues are profoundly complex, but we are entering an era in our society where far more reflection is required to make the serious decisions that are being embarked upon as they change our view of life, dying, and the end of life.

May the peace of God be with you.

Quote of the Week: Blaise Pascal “The heart has its reasons which reason does not know.”

Notes From the Family: Keats Camps has a new Executive Director Ryan Friesen.  Brian Stelck’s father, a dear friend of many, an internationally known geologist and recipient of the Order of Canada, and member of Strathcona Baptist and First Baptist Church Edmonton, passed away this past week.


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell