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Event focusing on end-of-life issues kicks off 2014-15 discussion series at CMU

Physician and politician join philosophy lecturer on panel

WINNIPEG – End-of-life issues are the focus at Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) first Face2Face discussion of 2014-15.

Dr. Cornelius Woelk, the Medical Director of Palliative Care at Southern Health-Santé Sud, and the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia will join Justin Neufeld, Lecturer in Philosophy at CMU, at the discussion, titled, “A Time to Die: Cultural and Faith Perspectives in the Face of Death.”

The event happens Friday, September 26 at 7:00 PM in CMU’s Great Hall (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend. Face2Face is a series of conversations with CMU faculty, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

Fletcher has initiated two private members’ bills in the House Commons to prod MPs into a national debate on the right to die. Woelk, Fletcher, and Neufeld will present a conversation exploring shifting cultural sentiments and the complexity of end-of-life issues, euthanasia, and physician-assisted suicide.


Fletcher recently said that physician-assisted suicide will be a reality in Canada, the Winnipeg Free Press reported (link). He called it, “inevitable.”

“The momentum is unstoppable,” Fletcher said. “The only question is how long will it take?”

The discussion at CMU will ask: “In a world that increasingly offers up promises of personal autonomy and control, how do we face our mortality?”

Neufeld says asking that question is interesting because one does not arrive at the answer using a mathematical or scientific formula. Rather, it is a question that involves a discussion about meaning and purpose.

He hopes to get attendees thinking theologically about death.

“Any time you talk about the sanctity of life you are in theological territory, whether you want to be or not,” Neufeld says.

He adds that he is looking forward to the discussion because of the diverse background and experience each presenter brings.

“These topics are what the heart of democracy is about,” Neufeld says. “Democracy at its best should be the bringing together of these ideas to discern what the good life is.”

“A Time to Die: Cultural and Faith Perspectives in the Face of Death” is the first of four Face2Face events CMU will host during the 2014-15 school year. For details, please visit

The discussion will be followed at 8:30 PM by a President’s Reception, during which attendees can connect with one another and chat with the presenters.

The evening marks the start of CMU’s Fall Festival, a high energy weekend that features opportunities to connect, learn, play, and celebrate with the CMU Community. For more information about the weekend, visit

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury Campus and its Menno Simons College and programs.

For information about CMU, visit:

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 2N2