The local preachers in Leeds North East Circuit organise an annual study day and this year they invited 3 doctors from the meeting to lead the day. I was joined at Chapel Allerton Methodist Church by former vice-president Prof Peter Howdle and Dr Stan Pearson, both of whom have recently retired as physicians at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, and together we led an exploration of medical ethical issues.
Stan Pearson talked about the different ethical frameworks that can be used, and asked what is distinctive about a Christian ethical model and how that relates to our cultural context. Peter Howdle talked about end of life issues including a reflection on the latest developments in the debate about assisted suicide. He was also asked about his experience looking after patients who had had liver transplants, and the ethical issues that this area of health care can raise. I concentrated on the questions that can arise in relation to fertility treatment, abortion and embryology research.
As local preachers and worship leaders we did not shy away from these challenging questions, even though there are often no easy answers.