Life Sunday 2016: In Prayer and in Action
CANADA – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) is preparing to observe Sanctity of Life Sunday on January 17.
A particular prayer focus this year will be the issues of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, as the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized these acts in February 2014. The move has left many health care workers worried that they may be forced to take part in these procedures against their conscience—a concern exacerbated by the number of provincial colleges contemplating regulations that would force physicians to refer for, or in some cases even perform, procedures they oppose for moral reasons.
In November, LCC joined Catholics, Evangelicals, and other Canadian faith leaders in a declaration opposing assisted suicide and euthanasia, and calling for protection for the religious freedoms of healthcare workers and extended support for palliative care. “Our church has long defended the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death—positions grounded both in natural law and in the clear teachings of Scripture,” noted LCC President Robert Bugbee at the time. “God’s Word tells us that all people are created in the image of God. That teaching grants dignity and value to all human life.”
Congregations in Lutheran Church–Canada are encouraged to keep euthanasia and other life issues in prayer during worship on January 17. LCC recognizes Sanctity of Life Sunday every year on the second Sunday following Epiphany.
In addition to prayer, LCC members can take action by signing onto the Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, which co-authored the declaration along with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, is encouraging Canadians to “Join the call to protect vulnerable Canadians and improve palliative care by signing the Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, at www.euthanasiadeclaration.ca. Reaching a target of 10,000 signatories by February 6 will demonstrate to federal and provincial legislators that there is cross-Canada support for limits to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.”