Friday, 14 January 2011

Calls to prayer

Mel Barry of the MNDA emailed me today asking if I might be the Michael with MND whom Channel 4 says is appearing on the 4Thought programme next week. Yes, I replied, I probably am. So she emailed back asking why, so that she could post something about it on the MNDA website. Apparently there'll also be someone whose brother had MND and decided to go to Dignitas.

My reply said, "Waddell Media, the production company responsible for the series, contacted my publisher, Monarch Books, who put me in touch with them.  4Thought is billed as a religious/ethical slot, and I'm open about my Christian faith in my books.  I imagine that's the reason they contacted me.

"The reason I chose to get involved is that I think there's an urgent need to promote the hearts and minds issue of the quality of care provided to the terminally ill, as it seems to me that there is a huge amount of public fear about it, due to ignorance and outdated hearsay, fuelled largely by the pro-euthanasia lobby.  I remember shortly after being diagnosed an MNDA visitor allaying my own fears of dying from being unable to breathe.  At the same time as the request for the programme came through, I was with a nurse from Douglas House, our local young people's hospice, who told me they talk to their patients about 'natural death'. The youngsters don’t want their lives terminated, but they do want reassurance about symptom-control and pain-management.  And they can be given exactly that by palliative care experts." 

The producer has just now emailed me to say I'm being shown on Wednesday (Channel 4, c.7.55 pm)!! I think I'll watch it on mute! I don't like the sound of my own voice.... Now there's a change from the old days! - Oh, hang on! My old pal Anthony has just sent me this link, which seems to indicate it's on Thursday at the same time. I'll try and find out who's right. Otherwise I suppose we'll have to tune in both days.

We also heard from our friends in Brisbane today, that they're all safe and sound. They'd been up country during the worst of the floods and so had been only affected by rain. "We all kept our spirits as high as we possibly could, we were alive and together, as still is. There were people who had lost or had been lost. We returned home to see the devastation on route – and then to see the news brought floods of tears. Realising how lucky we had been, and still were." As a PS, Michelle wrote, "Please take this time to say a prayer for those who aren’t as lucky, and the ones who need the strength to get through." We could well extend that to those in Sri Lanka and Brazil - who, although even worse affected by floods, get less news coverage on our domestic news bulletins. 

Even less covered are the talks going on in Copenhagen at the moment about Iraq - Iraq religious leaders meeting - They are chaired by the indomitable Andrew White, and recognise that without the religious leaders being on board an end to sectarian violence cannot even begin. There's a lovely footnote to the entry on the FFRME's website, about St George's Church in Baghdad: "Meanwhile, worship at St George's this weekend was wonderful, as we looked at the feast of the Epiphany, the coming of the wise men. We looked at how the presentation of the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh totally fitted in with the end of the Lord's Prayer, 'for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory'.

"We also give thanks that, despite the fleeing of so many Christians following recent atrocities, St George's has swelled once more to bulge at its seams.

"We ask for your continued prayers, especially for our conference this week."

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