Mar 10 2013

March 2013 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters

091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter MARCH 2013

Next meeting

AGM & Library News

Thursday, 28th March


The programme will start at 6 pm



We Start With…

A two minute period of silence.

From the Chair

The AGM for the Dunedin Sea of Faith will be held at our meeting on March 28th. As well as the election of the committee and officers, we will review the quiet time we have been trialling at the start of our meetings and hear the thoughts of members on the request we have had to host the national conference in 2014. If there is any other matter you would like to raise in General Business, it would be helpful if you could advise me of this prior to the meeting.

There are three vacancies on the Committee and the position of Chairperson for which we have had one expression of interest at the moment. If you would like to offer yourself or suggest someone for the Committee please let me know by e mail: or phone: 481 1418.

Following the AGM Peter will give us an update on the library. There will also be time for members to recommend books they have read to the group. This will be done informally, with each person speaking for no more than three minutes.

I hope you will all be able to attend on the 28th.

Last Meeting 28th February

26 Members turned up on a hot summer evening to hear Sea of Faith Member Richard Egan (from the Dept of Preventive and Social Medicine) lead a discussion on the controversial topic of euthanasia.
Richard reminded us that Well-Being has been part of the Health Curriculum in schools since 2000 and a part of that is Spiritual Well-Being.
Euthanasia can be a personal action or physician-assisted suicide (PAS). A withdrawal of medical treatment is not the same as euthanasia or PAS.
In Europe, euthanasia is legal in Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Switzerland and in three states in the USA assisted suicide is legal. In the Netherlands, euthanasia was made legal in 2002 and is defined as: intentionally terminating someone’s life at their request. In Australia it was legal in the Northern Territory until 1997 when the Federal Government over-rode that Territory’s law. In NZ It is illegal although it has been hotly debated in Parliament in 1995 and 2003. Now Labour MP Maryan Street has a private member’s bill (End of Life Choices Bill) in the ballot box which might start the debate again if it is picked out.

The vote on the street in NZ is 70% in favour of euthanasia but there are worries. Will older folk feel pressured into “leaving early” to avoid putting pressure on the family? Will inheritance chances likely prompt relatives to encourage the action? Is there a slippery slope in which euthanasia might become the prelude for ending the lives of those with long-term illness or with severe disabilities?

We are often worried about being in pain at the end of life, but pain can be controlled in 96-98% of cases (very hard on anyone in the 2-4%).
How do we view life? What does our faith teach us about our right to take terminal action for ourselves? (Thou shalt not kill… The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away are two well-known teachings).

Rosalie reminded us of the quote:
Live every day as if it is your last and prepare to live for ever.

Janet recalled a quote from a dancer who changed his mind on suicide after contemplation now believing that it is just too hard on others and that made me wonder what my grandchildren would think if I committed suicide and how they might react when faced with very difficult life choices – if suicide is “the easy way out” might they do likewise in a situation which did have a solution, albeit difficult?

We have all had friends who have died suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes I think “well I’d like to go quickly like that – no lingering illness etc”. But is that a “Good Death”? The chance to say “Goodbye” to loved ones might be important. I found this about Good Death from the authors of The future of health and care of older people: the best is yet to come [London: Age Concern, 1999] on the BBC website:

  • to know when death is coming, and to understand what can be expected
  • to be able to retain control of what happens
  • to be afforded dignity and privacy
  • to have control over pain relief and other symptom control
  • to have choice and control over where death occurs (at home or elsewhere)
  • to have access to information and expertise of whatever kind is necessary
  • to have access to any spiritual or emotional support required
  • to have access to hospice care in any location, not only in hospital
  • to have control over who is present and who shares the end
  • to be able to issue advance directives which ensure wishes are respected
  • to have time to say goodbye, and control over other aspects of timing
  • to be able to leave when it is time to go, and not to have life prolonged pointlessly

Death is very much part of human existence. At different times in history we treat it in different ways. I am a Freemason and we teach that to lose reputation is to be feared and avoided by doing things “right” but that death has no terrors for a person who has lived a good life.
Maybe instead of thinking about a “Good Death” we should concentrate on a “Good Life”. (See: Lloyd Geering “Such is Life” on Ecclesiastes – eat drink and be merry.)

Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
Ph: 473 6947

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