As the Anglican Hospitals Ministry Coordinator and head of the Pastoral Care Department at the Princess Alexandra Hospital knowing that the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 would commence in Queensland from 1 January 2023 meant that we needed inform and equip ourselves for pastoral care practice.
So the Parishes and other Mission Agencies Commission organised a Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Training Day late last year during Pastoral Care Month at The Parish of Indooroopilly.
The training event gathered many of those in our Diocese who will have firsthand experience working with a vast array of people whose lives will be directly impacted by the Act. The training day was important because it enabled people to ask questions and express concerns and provided an open discussion space.
We were extremely fortunate to have Dr Katrine Del Villar from the Australian Centre for Health Law Research and QUT, where she lectures in Health Law and Ethics, provide a legal perspective. She has a thorough understanding of the Bill’s development (and that of similar bills in other states and territories) and the Act. Her presentation brought great clarity to the Act and its relevance for pastoral carers for those whose lives may be impacted.
We were also fortunate to have Professor Liz Reymond, the deputy director of the Metro South Palliative Care Service and director of the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaboration, provide personal and medical perspectives.
Bishop Jeremy Greaves covered conscientious objection, while I facilitated a pastoral care workshop, which included decision making, post-decision making, end-of-life and post-end-of-life components.
The VAD training day affirmed that the new legislation will impact many in our communities. While it may not directly impact you or a loved one, no doubt someone in your wider community, for example in your church family, will be impacted. Conversations about dying are important because it is something that we all face.
Author’s note: To access Voluntary Assisted Dying training day resources, including videos of presentations, please visit the faithful + effective website.