I am re-posting this sermon in support of the End of Life Choice Bill which would enable terminally ill New Zealanders to have the choice of assisted deaths under specified circumstances.  To become law, this Bill requires a YES vote in a Public Referendum question to be included at the  General Election to be held September 2020.

I restate – the last two paragraphs of the sermon sum up the compassionate Christian approach to Assisted Ding Choice.   Ian Wood

From our friends across the Tasman I have this Sermon in strong support of Assisted Dying from Rev Craig Kilgour, when Interim Moderator at St Columba’s Presbyterian Church, Havelock North, New Zealand..

It is quite unique in that a nephew of Craig had an assisted death in Canada.  The last two paragraphs of the sermon sum up the compassionate Christian approach to Assisted Dying Choice:Let me finish this with what my family members said and repeated often using these words about my nephew’s death: It was compassionate, it was humane, it was right and good. And the family are very proud and humbled with the courage he showed in his battle with cancer. And to me no one has the right to be critical and judgemental of the choice he made.

So for me and my family this is not a philosophical debate, it is not a theological debate, it is not a theoretical debate, it is a reality and it was right and my nephew was fortunate he lived in Canada.”

The sermon is posted here with the kind permission of Rev Craig. In response to my question on what was the reaction of his congregation to the sermon Craig replied: the reaction from the congregation was very positive with many copies requested. Copies went wider into the community. I’ve been asked to speak to a retired group of Doctors at Hastings hospital. 

Ian Wood



Rev Craig Kilgour

Sunday 14 October 2018

Assisted dying

The topic I’ve chosen for the sermon might seem strange for a morning when we celebrate the birth and baptism of Angus, but then I thought when life ends, we celebrate the life lived whatever the length.

I mentioned my dilemma to Granddad David and he said it evens things out!

I want to share with you this morning about what our family has experienced just recently.

I’m going to talk to you about assisted dying, euthanasia, a topic which is difficult to deal with, and it provokes very strong feelings.

The End of life choice Bill is currently with Parliament’s Justice Select Committee. There have been 35 000 submissions – think about terminal illness, a few months to live, sound mind, to allow physician-assisted death.

I with some of the congregation, attended a discussion on the Bill, that our MP Lawrence Yule had called with a panel of experts at our Community Centre a while ago.

The issue has been debated by the General Assembly of our church and they were unanimously opposed against supporting the Bill before Parliament.

After I took the service on 30 September, I went across to Takaka for the memorial service for my nephew who had died in Canada. He was 47 years old. The memorial service was held on Wednesday 3 October in the Pohara Boat Club – a place where he loved racing his yachting.

I did the eulogy and the internment of ashes at the local cemetery.

It was hard taking part in the service but good to spend a week with the family. I got back home last Monday.

So let me give you a background that led up to his death in Canada on 18 September.

My nephew was born in Timaru and when quite young, the family moved to Takaka. He went to Golden Bay High School. He loved sport of all kind – rugby league was his first love and he continued to follow the warriors in Canada. He was into motorsport, dirt bike racing stock cars, yachting. Although he suffered from seasickness, he was a very competent sailor. He was adventurous – rock climbing, skydiving, bungee jumping.

When he left school, he became a share milker, he worked in Western Australia on outback stations as a jackaroo, he tried deep sea fishing in a Sealords boat. He met his wife at a Takaka A & P Show. She was a local vet. In 2006 they left for overseas for London, Zimbabwe and Canada. They got married on Christmas Eve in a chapel at Las Vegas in 2007. Seven years ago they had twin girls and five years ago another daughter.

Five years ago my nephew was diagnosed with an aggressive melanoma on his face. He had surgery which twisted his face, radiations that destroyed hearing in one ear and affected his swallowing and numerous chemotherapy sessions that left him sick. He was given experimental drug treatments. The best treatment he could have in Canada. He was able to have medical cannabis to help him sleep and control the pain.

Early in September my brother and sister in law along with their son and daughter went to Canada to be with the family.

My nephew Continue reading