Living and Dying Well

In recent months there has been increasing debate on whether or not the law should be changed in this country to permit a doctor to kill his terminally ill patients or to assist them in their suicide should they so request. The big questions that many lawyers, doctors and pastors are facing are these: Does medically-assisted death have a place within healthcare? Is medically-assisted death just another end-of-life choice that some people have to make? Would a change in the current legislation put pressure on vulnerable people to consider assisted dying because they were making demands on their carers? These questions raise major theological and ethical issues which cause much concern for individuals who are directly affected, as well as for legislators and those in the legal, medical and caring professions.

Union Theological College, in cooperation with the Church and Society Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, is hosting the third The Church in the Public Square Conference on Thursday 22 January 2015 on the theme “Living and Dying Well”. The conference will address the ethical, pastoral and legal issues surrounding the attempts to legislate in favour of assisted suicide. As an ordinary church member, or as a professional person concerned about these issues, we encourage you to attend this event.

We are delighted to welcome three well-qualified speakers to lead our discussion of these critical issues.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff is chairwoman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dying Well. She is a professor of palliative medicine at Cardiff University and a past president of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Robert Preston worked in Whitehall as a civil servant for 30 years. In that role he examined Lord Joffe’s Private Member’s Bill, “Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill” and he is now Director of the think-tank, Living and Dying Well, which works to examine the objective evidence surrounding the controversial end-of-life debate and publishes research to help inform Parliament and the public.

John Wyatt is Professor of Ethics and Perinatology at University College, London. He has lectured widely on issues in ethics from a Christian perspective and his most prominent book is Matters of life and death: Today’s healthcare dilemmas in the light of Christian Faith. Professor Wyatt has been a member of All Souls Church in London since first coming to London as a medical student and has worked as a specialist in the medical care of newborn infants for more than 20 years.

These keynote speakers will help us to think through these important issues so that we will be able to make good and wise decisions.

To book your place, download a booking form from the Union Theological College website, or email the College or telephone 028 9020 5080. The conference fee is £20 (including lunch), and full-time students can register for £12. Early registration before 1st December is just £15 and the closing date is 15th January.