How would you respond if someone you know was considering ending their life through medical assistance in dying (MAiD)?
You might be surprised to learn that a recent poll suggested that 80 percent of Canadians believe it should be easier to make their own end-of-life decisions. The poll also reported that 33 percent describe themselves as “enthusiastic supporters,” while another 48 percent “cautiously support” the idea of ending life through medical assistance (Angus Reid Institute, findings here).
These findings alert us to the reality that MAiD is being viewed in increasingly more positive ways. It is impacting people we know in our workplaces, neighbourhoods, and even our churches, and better preparation is needed for conversations with those exploring its possibilities.
As Mennonite Brethren, we affirm that all life is a gift from God and belongs to God (as expressed in Article 14 of the MB Confession of Faith). So how can we uphold our theological position of “no” while engaging within a culture of people who are saying “yes”?
MB Seminary recently hosted a conversation to discuss this very question. During a live event featuring three faculty presentations and a panel discussion, Dr. Doug Heidebrecht and Dr. Brian Cooper offered thoughts on the biblical and theological implications of life, death, and suffering from an MB perspective. This foundation was followed by Dr. Gloria Woodland’s presentation which bridged the gap between our theological conclusions and the reality of walking alongside those impacted by MAiD. These presentations, along with questions submitted by online participants, began a rich conversation of faith and life within our MB community.
The recordings from this event are available on the MB Seminary website.
In addition, for those wishing to engage with this topic more deeply, Dr. Woodland will be teaching an online course on the scope of perspectives and ministry in MAiD that will span eight weeks beginning January 4, 2021. This course is not only available as a 3-credit graduate course, but has also been specifically designed for small group study. For more details about how your small group can take part, please visit the MB Seminary course page here.
MB Seminary staff