Thursday, 04 April 2013 22:12

Bishop Christopher brings the Right to Die debate to Chobham

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On matters of life and death you would expect a bishop to be an expert.

And when it comes to the highly-charged issue of whether assisted dying and euthanasia should be legalised, The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Herbert, the former Bishop of St Albans and a Surrey vicar for many years, is particularly knowledgeable.

Lecture, 23rd April

Dr Herbert is speaking on this subject at St Lawrence Church, Chobham, on Tuesday April 23rd for the church's annual Thomas of Chobham Lecture.

He has considered the issue in great depth, written and spoken about it, since serving as a member of a House of Lords Select Committee considering Lord Joffe's 2005 bill on assisted dying.

The invitation to give a faith perspective as a counterbalance to the campaign for legalisation. has come from the Vicar of Chobham, The Revd Chris Bessant.

"The matter of assisted suicide and euthanasia is one of the major ethical issues of our time," says Chris, "The Church of England has had its hands full with the debates over women bishops, marriage and sexuality, so has assisted suicide become a secondary issue in people’s minds? This is sensitive and an uncomfortable subject for us to think about, but it could change our society profoundly and it’s vital that people are aware of what is at stake. It is becoming increasingly important that we face the reality of what assisted dying could mean for end-of-life care."

Dr Herbert will give an insight into the current situation in the UK Parliament, developments in the campaigns both in favour and against, and moves and changes in other countries.

Active Campaigns

Campaigning to legalise "the right to die" is still very active, although it may not be so high on the news agenda. Various groups have been set up to both promote this change in the law on the one hand, and to defend what they see as a fundamental undermining of the sanctity of life on the other.

There are passionately held views on both sides. The former Labour Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer and author Terry Pratchett are among the most high-profile of the "pros", and the churches amongst those most against. That doesn’t mean that all Christians or people of faith agree on this issue or that faith bodies are the only opponents of legalisation, but Christopher Herbert believes Christians bring particular insights to this debate.

Although Christopher Herbert will be speaking from a faith, in particular a Christian, perspective it is hoped that people of all perspectives will come to hear him speak, There will be a time for questions and for the audience to make their own points after the lecture.

"If you want to be informed or influence the outcome of this hugely important debate, the time to form a view is now,” says Chris Bessant.

This event is free but there will be a collection for Abbeyfield Pirbright & District Society, a charity that provides housing, support and care for older people.

About Thomas of Chobham

If Thomas of Chobham were alive today he would be a regular on Thought for the Day or The Moral Maze. But he was born in 1160, so this distinguished medieval theologian conveyed his moral guidance to fellow churchmen throughout Christendom through influential written works. This is the 11th lecture held in honour of Thomas.

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01276 858224 or 857914 or visit

Jennifer Britt

Jennifer is a regular contributor to Chobham.Net and is also the webmaster of the St Lawrence & St Saviour Chobham Parish website.

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