In August the Nurses' Christian Fellowship International (NCFI) held its seventh European regional Conference in Ede, The Netherlands. Around eighty nurses from eleven European nations, plus delegates and speakers from South Africa, North America, the Philippines and Japan gathered together to explore the theme of 'Ethics and Spirituality' in modern nursing. Pablo Martinez gave a daily Bible Exposition from Zechariah - each day focusing in turn on the themes of truth, justice, peace and care, with plenary sessions drawing together how these biblical themes were worked out in the practical realms of nurse education, professional ethics and personal and professional spirituality.
The standard of papers was extremely high, exploring different aspects of the whole person approach to care, and how the split between caring and curing has arisen and its antithesis in the biblical approach to caring for the sick and vulnerable. These themes were not only looked at as academic or theological issues, but as very practical, professional ones.
However, the fellowship shared around meal tables and coffee times was as ever the most valuable part of the conference, and meeting with nurses from such a wide range of backgrounds was hugely encouraging and uplifting. NCFI is moving responsibility for developing and implementing its global strategy into its regional groups more and more, and the new European Committee that was elected at the conference will have a great deal to do in the next four years as we look at how we support migrant nurses within Europe, and at how we can support the new and emerging Christian nursing groups in Eastern Europe and the CIS nations. I have taken on the chairmanship of the European Committee and one of our first challenges is to look at where the 2010 conference will be held – we are hoping that a doorway will open for this to happen in Eastern Europe.
Please pray for the work of NCFI – Christian nurses are a growing community in many nations, but struggling to have their voices heard to make an impact – please especially pray for the opportunity to hold future conferences in Eastern Europe to encourage more of those working in those nations.
With the ICMDA Eurasia office at CMF, the growing links with PRIME, having these close links with NCFI as well puts CMF very much at the strategic centre of work that God is doing among health professionals across this vast region. Please pray for wisdom in how we pull all of these threads together.
In the UK we are now looking at how CMF can support the work amongst Christian student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, as the traditional structure of the UCCF special interest groups for these students is changing rapidly, and the graduate fellowships have limited resources.We are working closely with Christian Nurses and Midwives (CNM), Christian Therapist Network (CTN) and UCCF to explore how we can reach out to and support Christian students in these health professions across the UK. Please pray for wisdom.