Donating organs and blood is Christian duty, C of E synod to be told

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Source: The Guardian

Blood and organ donation is a Christian duty and congregations should be encouraged to act, a motion to a three-day general assembly of the Church of England says.

It quotes James Newcome, the bishop of Carlisle, saying that blood and organ donation should be part of the “sacrificial offering” Christians are called on to make.

“That ‘sacrificial offering’ is usually associated with time, money and gifts. But it applies just as much to the blood that flows in our veins and the organs that are such an intrinsic part of our bodies,” Newcome says.

A background paper prepared for the synod by the diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, which is behind the motion, highlights the work of fleshandblood, a church campaign to raise awareness of the need for blood and organ donation, and to mobilise Christians to take action.

According to NHS data, only about 4% of the population donate blood regularly, and an additional 225,000 donors are needed each year to meet current needs. About 7,000 units of blood are used every day in the NHS.

There was a fall in the number of organ donors in 2014-15, the first for 11 years. Deceased donors fell by 3% to 1,282, and living donors fell by 5% to 1,092.

Some campaigners have advocated a change from the current “opt-in” system, under which willing donors have to register their wishes, to an “opt-out” system where it is assumed that organs can be harvested from the dead unless individuals have registered objections.

But a separate background paper, prepared for the synod by the C of E’s Mission and Public Affairs Council, says the current system “reflects a careful balance in the relationship between individuals, relatives and the state”.

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