The long-awaited report of the Anglican General Synod's Task Force on Human Life titled, "Dying: Considerations on the Passage from Life to Death," is available to the general public.
The report, which has been the centre of major controversy for three years, and has gone through several revisions, is now published in its final form. The co-editors of the report were Dr. Lawrence Whytehead of Winnipeg and the Rev. Canon Paul Chidwick of Windsor.
"As has been said during those three years, and must be repeated again," said Archdeacon Harry H. Hilchey, the Church's General Secretary, "this is not a policy statement, it is a discussion paper. It will provide for Anglicans, and indeed many other Canadians, constructive assistance in grappling with the vital moral questions being raised by advances in technology and science. Also, it will give much-needed leadership in a critical examination of the manner in which we treat and minister to terminally-ill persons."
A copy of the report can be seen at Diocesan Synod headquarters. Copies may be purchased soon at retail outlets across the country or may be ordered now from Anglican Book Centre, 600 Jarvis St., Toronto M4Y 2J6.
The Primate led the Synod in prayer, and then read the introduction printed in the draft Report.
The Rev. Canon Paul Chidwick was introduced by the Primate who then presented the background to the draft Report. He urged the Synod to bear in mind that this was an interim Report and he asked that discussion be on the Report and not on interpretaions of it.
That this General Synod receive for discussion the Report of the Winnipeg Task Force, "Dying - Considerations Concerning the Passage from Life to Death" as an interim Report and express its appreciation to the Winnipeg Task Force. CARRIED ACT 69
Dr. Gardiner called for a tribute to the Primate for having set up this and other Task Forces, to which the Synod responded with applause.
The Primate stated that all correspondence received by him in connection with the Report would be acknowledged and passed to the Task Force for their consideration.
Dr. Donald Cameron, Vice President of the Canadian Association of the Mentally Retarded was introduced by the Primate and invited to address Synod. Dr. Cameron voiced the concern of his Association about the Report with special reference to Section III (3). In concluding he commended the Task Force for bringing this subject to the public's attention.
The Primate introduced Dr. Lawrence Whytehead, Dr. Cope Schwenger, Mrs. Phyllis Creighton and the Rev. Canon Paul Chidwick, and invited their comments regarding the report "Dying - Considerations Concerning the Passage from Life to Death."
The Primate reminded the National Executive Council that this report was presented to General Synod 1977 and returned to the Task Force for rewriting.
That this National Executive Council give general approval to the report "Considerations Concerning the Passage from Life to Death" and following editorial revisions, addition of footnotes, and a deepening and amplifying of certain sections as discussed this evening, and authorize the publication of the report together with a suitable introduction by the Primate. CARRIED
The Primate paid grateful tribute to all those who worked on the preparation of this report.
Following further discussion it was [moved and seconded]
That a press release be issued on the motion concerning the publication of the report. CARRIED
The National Executive Council of the Anglican Church of Canada has received a final report from the General Synod Task Force on Human Life, "Dying: Considerations Concerning the Passage from Life to Death."
The Council gave "general approval" to the report and ordered that "following the addition of revisions, footnotes and a deepening and amplifying of certain actions as discussed this evening, the report be published together with a suitable introduction by the Primate."
The Report, intended as a study document, does not define policies, but is intended to be, as Archbishop Scott said, "A contribution to a process that has to be ongoing." That process is an examination of the moral questions posed by, and the Christian implications of, the care of the terminally ill and the new born infant with gross and uncorrectable defects.