Religions invited to come together to pray for voluntary assisted dying

The West Australian government is debating new assisted dying laws.
The West Australian government is debating new assisted dying laws.

MEMBERS of various religions have been invited to an interfaith prayer service while State Parliament debates voluntary assisted dying.

The service will be held at 3pm on Sunday, September 29, at St Mary’s Cathedral in Victoria Square, Perth.

Representatives of the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian faiths have been invited to participate.

Uniting Church WA moderator Rev Steve Francis said the service would not be advocating a particular view of the VAD legislation.

Prayers would be made for guidance and strength for the various professions and families whose members would be most affected by VAD laws.

The Uniting Church WA tried to reach a stance on VAD at the Synod of WA’s annual meeting in September but was unable to do so.

Instead, the Synod voted to extend its deliberation period.

“We need to take the greatest care in our deliberations on such important matters as voluntary assisted dying to ensure that we are always honouring life and dignity, particularly of the most vulnerable,” Rev Francis said.

“Our ministers and care agencies are very familiar with supporting people through their end of life stages and we heard a number of stories of personal experiences.

“People were very keen to listen to each other well and were obviously torn on the issue.

“In the end I think it was a wise decision of the Synod to take more time to consider the matter.

“For people in the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, we heard that this was a difficult subject and not something they have openly discussed.”

The Synod also paid tribute to the Uniting Church’s Rev Dr Douglas MacAdam, who has been hailed as a pioneer of palliative care medicine in WA.