A special Leeds Area Quaker Meeting was held on Thursday 1st May 2014 at Carlton Hill Quaker Meeting House at which a minute was agreed on assisted dying and sent to Meeting for Sufferings.The following documents in advance were prepared:
Following the international conference 'Death and Dying: The Last Taboo', held on 12th May 2012, work on this issue has been taken forward in a number of ways. The conference was videoed and a DVD is available of the main presentations, feedback from discussion groups and the plenary session. The DVD costs £10 (including postage and packing) and is available from email@example.com
In February 2013 the working party reported to Leeds Area Meeting and requested release of some of the funds raised by the conference and DVD sales in order that focus groups could be held in each Local Meeting and the results taken to Britain Yearly Meeting. This was agreed and six well attended focus groups were held for each Meeting.
Quentin Fowler and Judy Kessler convened a special interest group at BYM 2013. The room was packed and the material was well received. Correspondence with some of the participants and others continues. At the July LAM meeting the working group requested that it change its name from 'Assisted Dying Working Party' to 'The End of Life Care Working Party' to better reflect the work that it is doing. At the same time the group was expanded from four to six people. The present members are Quentin Fowler, Judy Kessler, Jill Page and Barbara and Paul Henderson. Former members were Ben Francis, Philomena O'Hare, Ben Wood and Gillian Oakley.
In the first half of 2014 the main work of the group was the analysis of questionnaires which were sent to Members and Attenders in Local Meetings. 99 questionnaire forms were returned. This is a reasonable number and enough for the group to be able to present valid findings. A presentation on the initial results was given at LAM on March 29th and are now available by clicking this survey results link. There was also a presentation at the gathering of Quakers in Yorkshire in Settle on July 19th. The powerpoint presentation given by Judy Kessler and the link to the presentation by Donald Purves are given below:
There was discussion of the issues arising from the work of the group at BYM in August.Leeds Area Meeting sent a minute to Meeting for Sufferings and a meeting was held with Quaker Life Central Committee. At its December 2014 meeting, Meeting for Sufferings wrote a minute on assisted dying. The End of Life Care Working Party met in January 2015 and reported to Leeds Area Meeting on February 8th.
With the support of Leeds Area Meeting the group is now preparing a booklet on assisted dying. It will consist of contributions from a number of Quakers and experts and will aim to be a helpful resource for individuals and Local Meetings in Britain. It will not put forward any one viewpoint on assisted dying but rather seek to encourage reflection and discussion. Funding has been obtained to enable the group to send copies of the booklet to all area meetings in Britain with a request for them to forward them to their Local Meetings. Contributors will be writing over the summer and the group hopes the publication will be ready in early 2016.
For further information about the work of the End of Life Care Working Party please contact Judy Kessler: firstname.lastname@example.org