Bioethics: Equipping for End of Life

by Public Relations

Cedarville University’s Center for Bioethics hosted over 200 guests at the 2011 Bioethics Conference on September 15-17. Cedarville welcomed renowned speaker and author Joni Eareckson Tada and other distinguished healthcare experts at the conference titled “Equipping for End of Life Ministry.”

Focusing on topics such as the sanctity of human life and end-of-life issues, the conference was designed to engage students, faculty, staff and the Christian community on biblical positions regarding mechanically sustaining life and God’s authority over the end-of-life. The conference was co-sponsored by Joni and Friends and included a separate session that focused specifically on developing a disability ministry.

Keynote speakers Joni Eareckson Tada, C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., and Christopher Hook, M.D. spoke for the keynote presentations, and leaders in health care ethics and end-of-life ministry led multiple breakout sessions.

The conference provided unique opportunities for students and attendees to interact with speakers and encouraged guests to critique and formulate views on ethical dilemmas surrounding end-of-life issues.

“This conference confronted me with the unique ministry opportunity that Christians have to care for people’s social, emotional and physical needs as they reach the end of their lives,” said Evan Thayer, a senior biology major at Cedarville who attended the event. “I now have a better understanding of incorporating the truth of the Bible into these issues while maintaining humility and compassion.”

This is the second year that the Center for Bioethics has held an extensive bioethics conference. Dennis Sullivan, M.D., director of the center for bioethics and professor of biology at Cedarville, said that this event was a “reminder to health care professionals and the church that each person, even if functional ability has diminished, has great value in God’s eyes.”

“Death has become an impersonal, technical process,” Sullivan said. “We’re struggling to regain focus on the person.” The event encouraged students, pastors and other attendees to think about how the value of each soul applies in our technology laden environment.

“Bioethics is life ethics,” Sullivan said. “The issues of bioethics touch on every event in a person’s life. As Christians, we cannot afford not to be engaged in bioethics.”

Cedarville University attracts 3,300 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at