Bruce J. Clemenger is president of The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada. Find more of these columns at
www.faithtoday.ca/ TheGatheringPlace. Please pray for our
work. You can support it financially at www.theEFC.ca/
donate or toll-free 1-866-302-3362.
ibility to good palliative and end-of-life
care. This is the specialized care including pain management offered patients as
they near death.
Only about 16 to 30 per cent of Canadians
who need it receive adequate palliative
care. In rural areas, access is worse than in
city centres. We are debating the morality
of assisting in the suicide or euthanizing of
those who are in pain. Should we even
consider this possibility if we as a society
have not ensured that all have access to the
best in pain management?
A few years ago three Members of Parliament – one Conservative, one NDP and
one Liberal – felt compelled to study four
issues: palliative care, suicide prevention,
elder abuse and disability. I met with each
of them recently, and they remain passionate about the need to greatly improve how
we care for people in great need.
In their report Not to Be Forgotten, they
noted that a palliative care philosophy
entails more than pain management. It
needs to incorporate a broader vision of
care. They wrote:
The palliative care philosophy is
and community-based. It moves us
from disease or condition-specific
care to person-centered care. It
recognizes that the psycho-social
and spiritual dimensions have
profound impact upon health and
well being, and that a variety of
specific conditions may be operat-
ing on different levels in the chron-
ically ill or dying person’s life.
Their recommendations range from
developing national strategies to ways of
facilitating people to care for loved ones
facing death – in their homes rather than
having them end their lives in institutions.
This vision of palliative care requires
more than proactive government action.
There is also an important role for churches.
Visiting the sick and caring for the
dying are the hallmarks of Christianity.
They are expressions of our love for God
and our neighbour, manifestations of
our theology and world view which have
marked Christian practice since the
time of Jesus.
Care for the dying involves more than
what the healthcare system can provide.
Such care is fully expressed when communities embrace the sick and dying and
manifest the love of God in practical ways.
As we wait for the Supreme Court to
rule, now is not the time to sit back. Neither governments nor citizens nor the
Church should pause in the whole care of
the whole person as they walk through the
valley of the shadow of death.
Regardless of what is decided, people
need our care and tangible expressions
of love. /FT
Two years ago Jon Ohlhauser, Phd,
took up amateur boxing to support
his daughter’s goal of becoming
an RCmP officer – and found
God using it to open amazing
opportunities for relationship
development and Christian
as part of the 50th anniversary
celebrations at The Evangelical
fellowship of Canada, Faith
Today is introducing members
of the board of directors (listed
at www.theEfC.ca/board). We
continue with Jon Ohlhauser,
president of Hope College,
FT: What made you want to sit on
the EFC board?
JO: I have been involved in
Christian higher education in
Canada for 20 years, always
with a passion to help students
discern appropriate and
relevant means of presenting
the gospel to our increasingly
post-Christian culture. When
invited to serve on the board,
I felt God was directing me to
hear more examples of effective
Christian witness. I’m also glad to
contribute to the organizational
ends of the EFC.
FT: What’s the most important
thing the EFC is doing these days,
in your opinion?
JO: It’s difficult to prioritize one
at the expense of the others. But
one that I’ve found extremely
beneficial has been the EFC’s
intentions to be a “fellowship” –
a place where ideas, perspectives
and questions can be explored.
Christ prayed earnestly for the
unity of His Body – the Church
– and I have found joy and
encouragement in the role that
the EFC has played in creating a
space for this unity to flourish.
FT: What’s the biggest challenge
facing Canada right now?
JO: The biggest challenge – at
least spiritually – is also the
biggest opportunity. While much
of our country has been built
on a Judeo-Christian ethos, this
is being challenged or, in many
cases, has already been replaced.
Many people bemoan this
trajectory, but I think it simply
testifies of the ongoing spiritual
battles that are an inherent
part of our faith. I also see it
as a wonderful opportunity
to present and live Christ in a
magnetic way so people can
find the unchanging truth and
encounter a personal Saviour.
FT: Thank you, Jon. May God bless
you and your ministry. /F T
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