Wednesday, December 14, 2016

MAID in Canada

Image result for "Medical AID in Dying". canada

A good friend of ours has shared some notes on Canada’s new provisions for Physician Assisted Dying. In that country it’s termed Medical Assistance in Dying, MAID. And, of course, it's now become legal. 

However, hopeful reformers there are afraid that the legislation is too limited. For instance, when people sign the request for MAID, there have to be two witnesses in attendance. But there are so many restrictions around who these witnesses can be, that it is simpler if they are complete strangers.

So our friend has volunteered to be a witness and has in fact done it three times.  The patients can’t have MAID for at least ten days after signing and of course can change their mind at any time, or they can wait for as long as they like. On a whimsical note, she told us, "One woman was very interested in my red boots and asked me where I got them.  And I thought to myself, `Surely she isn’t going to go out to buy boots at this point.`"

Friday, December 2, 2016

Methodist Supernumerary Fund

For nearly ten years, retired ministers in the Supernumerary Fund of the Methodist Church of New Zealand have had no increase in their pension. For some beneficiaries, especially widows, this has been a difficult time.
This seemingly unjust situation has arisen partly because the Government’s Kiwi Saver scheme was required to replace the Church Fund. So this was no longer topped up from ongoing subscriptions as might have been expected.

But there were also more significant changes. First, the Government insisted that the Church’s Supernumerary Fund be put into the hands of a specialist company. It failed to serve the Church well. Then the Government allowed the Church to take back control of its own fund. Through these messy arrangements, substantial capital was lost.

Now a special Committee has been charged by the Conference to find a means of building up the capital again. A logical place for them to look might be the “PAC Endowment” which is open to receive suggestions from anyone in the Church.

Before people start to quibble over the use of PAC funds, the Church could reflect on how this huge fund was created. It came from the long term lease of the Prince Albert College property in Auckland – including but much more than the lovely old terrace shops at the top of Queen St.

Prince Albert College was originally built, on this land which was granted to the Wesleyan Mission in the 1830s for educational work . The school was to provide education for the children of Wesleyan missionaries throughout the Pacific. Instead of having to leave the Mission field to provide schooling for their children in England the missionaries would be able to remain in their chosen work and have their children well educated in the Pacific.

And who paid for this imaginative and costly enterprise? The Missionaries themselves. The Ministers of the time contributed to raise the capital fund that began Prince Albert College. It was to be for their children. They put in the original ten pound shares. 

Given this background, it might be seen to be appropriate to transfer some money from the PAC Endowment to ensure that today’s retired clergy and widowed partners receive a pension of which the Church can be proud. Ministers sowed the seeds of that fund in 1836 out of their own pockets. Let the present retirees enjoy a little of the vast harvest of property inflation 180 years later.

The Ca Pros Report

Just a quick update:

After about nine months of PSA flat-lined between 25 and 30, this week's two-monthly test is 40, a 25% increase. This is along the lines of the very steep increases of 2015 and a bit worrying.

However, I'm taking the long view and figuring that an increase from 25 to 40 in about ten months is really quite small!

But, I guess my oncology specialist will be wanting to see me before long...

"I Believe"

Image result for "I believe"

Here's a postscript to my last post on the relevance of Christmas carols:

In the last few months, Chorus members wanted to learn "I Believe". Some of them, I suspect,  chose it because it was more like "ordinary singing" than Barbershop. However, our indefatigable Director prepared a great arrangement in barbershop style and I crafted scores for everyone.

The problem was, there's only one verse and just singing the whole thing twice through didn't seem to make an item, no matter how "lovely" people thought it sounded.

Personally, just about everything in this song represents a whole style of theology that I have long since relinquished, so when the possibility arose that one of us might write a second verse, I had a go. I wrote the following and nobody complained about it so we learned it:

I be-lieve that some-where in the heart of me a vis-ion burns;
I be-lieve that in the eyes of friends a-round I see hope yearns;
I be-lieve that some-where in a hurt-ing world some-one will go
To ease the pain.
I be-lieve, Oh, I be-lieve.
I be-lieve that in us all the fut-ure of the world is sure;
I be-lieve that we are those whose life and all its works en-dure;
Ev-ry time I hear a new born ba-by cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky,
Then I know why I be-lieve.

But in the end of year Village concert by the Barbershop singers the other night, we were  apparently running out of time so my verse somehow got omitted! 

Oh, the trials of a Progressive in an alien world!