Biologist bishop appointed to govt embryology panel: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2012 p 5. June 27, 2012Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: embryology, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Lee Rayfield
The Department of Health last week announced that the Bishop of Swindon, the Rt. Rev. Lee Rayfield has been appointed to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority with effect from 23 April 2012.
“I am delighted that the Bishop of Swindon is joining us,” Professor Lisa Jardina, the chairman of the HFEA said. “The Authority deals with issues at the cutting edge of reproductive science and ethics. Bishop Lee’s extensive experience of scientific as well as ecclesiastical matters means he is well placed to contribute to this important work.”
Dr. Rayfield has been a member of the Society of Ordained Scientists since 1995 and has published over 30 scientific papers and articles in the field of human biology. From 2000 to 2009 he served as a member of the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee.
In a 2008 conference organized by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) entitled “Is the embryo sacrosanct? Multi-faith perspectives”, Dr. Rayfield spoke to the Church of England’s view on human embryology. It was the Christian belief that human beings were made in the image of God, he explained and this understanding guided church views.
The Church of England held to a “gradualist perspective” he said, that recognised that it was inappropriate to speak of a 14 day old embryo as a person and that, while it holds a unique and protected status, it is not inviolable.
While research was permitted on embryos up to 14 days old that would otherwise be destroyed, Christians do not permit embryos to be created purely for research, because that would disregard the status of the embryo as an end in itself, the bishop told the conference.
Educated at the University of Southampton, Dr. Rayfield served as a lecturer in Immunology at the University of London before entering Ridley Hall to train for the ministry. He served his curacy at Woodford in the Diocese of London and was vicar of St Peter’s with St Mark’s, Furze Platt, Maidenhead from 1997 and Area Dean of Maidenhead and Windsor from 2000 until his consecration of Bishop of Swindon in the Diocese of Bristol in 2005.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.