Human Life Task Force

The Human Life Task Force, established as part of Faith Worship, and Ministry and its Ethics and Interfaith Relationships Working Group, had its inaugural meeting in November of 2005. Called together to ‘reflect theologically on the ethical issues surrounding bio-technologies, euthanasia and assisted suicide, reproductive technologies and human cloning and to monitor ongoing developments in these areas’ (General Synod resolution, 2001), the Task Force met by teleconference in the summer of 2005 and met face to face in Toronto last month.

In its meeting, The Task Force

  • reviewed the past work of our church and related church bodies
  • discussed suggested framework axes for our work: Owning & Being Human, Begetting & Making, Self & Other
  • reviewed the Canadian Council of Churches document: On Becoming Human
  • reflected together on members’ own experiences
  • engaged with a panel of experts working directly in issues of human life, bio-technology, health care, and pastoral care

The discussions and exchanges were stimulating, deeply inspiring, provocative, and tremendously exciting. All agreed that this was energizing and important work for ourselves and for the church, and that there is a huge amount to do. We agreed that we are committed to:

  • assisting the church with a theological framework for addressing issues around human life
    being available for reflection on specific issues that may require an Anglican response
    encouraging discourse on ethical issues at local, diocesan, and national levels of our church.

We also agreed, in the immediate days ahead, to:

  • write an article for the Journal linking current interest in the potential influenza pandemic with the theological and ethical implications for human life
  • prepare suggestions for Dioceses to be used as centres for communication in case of a critical event
  • respond to Bill C-407 (Parliament of Canada) dealing with assisted suicide, along with advise to the wider church in terms of response
  • develop, over the longer term, a theological framework to aid discussions.

It was an excellent beginning and members of the Task Force look forward to their work together!
Members of the Task Force are:

  • The Rev. Dr. Eric Beresford, Atlantic School of Theology
  • Dr. John Dosseter, Diocese of Ottawa
  • The Rev. Mark Loyal, Diocese of Calgary
  • The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, Diocese of Edmonton
  • The Rev. Dr. Joanne McWilliam, Toronto School of Theology
  • Ms. Lela Zimmer, Parishes of the Central Interior, &
  • The University of Northern British Columbia
  • The Very Rev.Peter Wall, Diocese of Niagara, Chair
  • The Rev. Canon Dr. Linda Nicholls, Staff

Further information, comments, questions, should be addressed to:

Faith, Worship & Ministry
80 Hayden Street
Toronto ON M4Y 3G2
e-mail