Letters - 17 April 2020

From assisted dying to a sign of the times

Assisted dying

I appreciated Win Sutton (13 March) sharing her experience of her daughter’s decision to end her life. It was a very moving story and I’m sure it has stimulated many of us to think again about this issue.

I read the book on Assisted dying that was produced by Friends at Leeds Area Meeting. It helped me to see that our perspective on this issue is based on our individual experiences as well as strongly-held beliefs.

I am uneasy about a change in the law but when reading some of the stories in this book I know that I would probably have felt the same way (in their situation) as people who are advocating for a change. At the same time, some of the stories reinforced the reasons that I believe that it would be a dangerous decision to make (in other words, making it easier for people to die).

I thoroughly recommend the book to anyone who is grappling with this issue.

Win calls on us to ‘let your Meeting have your answer soon’. I think it would be impossible for Quakers to speak with one voice on this issue. I’m sure in our own Meeting there will be diverse views. I know that we believe in the discernment process but there are perhaps some issues on which we cannot speak with one voice.

I think we must start with the strong Quaker belief in the value of life but at the same time accept that some may feel that acting according to their conscience allows them to support assisted dying. Freedom of conscience is vital to our mutual respect of one another.

Anne Macarthur

A kind gesture

In the 1980s my daughter attended Sibford School near Banbury, as did many others especially from other countries. She made friendships with students from Hong Kong, Ghana, Mexico and Nigeria, and through modern technology has kept in touch.

Recently she received a text from one of the former students from Hong Kong stating that he was sending face masks to her and other students, all free of charge.

They arrived this week! Such a kind gesture in these uncertain times will not be forgotten.

Tom Jackson

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