The National Students' Conference, 9-11 February, was the second biggest ever, with just over 400 from all over the UK, Ireland and beyond battling through freak snowstorms. Hugh Thomson spoke powerfully from Daniel on 'The God we Serve is Able' and Rhona Knight encouraged us to get 'In the Firing Line', standing up for God's truth as Christian medics.
Rachel McCollum from Belfast writes:
From the start of Daniel 1 we were challenged to realise our identity as citizens of heaven. We have been given many privileges and yet we face huge pressures from every side that would have us conform and lose our identity. These may be the pressures of drinking, sleeping around, supporting abortion (sometimes by our silence), wasting money and time, gluttony, pride or arrogance; or the pressures to please our friends or consultants. Too often we become like the chameleon. In all our efforts for the gospel we must imitate Daniel - courageous and courteous yet not abrasive. If people are offended let it be the cross that offends, not our sins. Though I arrived at the conference tired and worrying about things, I was so thankful for being there. I cannot encourage you enough to take the time out next year and go.
MP3 files of all four main talks can be ordered from firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesuloba Abiola is the new chair of the London-based Students' Conference Committee and was one of 40 at the Student Leaders' Conference on 23-25 March:
After two years as a CMF rep I decided it was time I went to the leaders' conference. Unlike most of the others (who were just beginning to lead their groups), I was able to compare what we were being taught with my own experience of leadership. By the end of the weekend I was sure I had missed out by waiting so long. This conference is a must! Leading a CMF group is exciting, challenging, and, if you're anything like me, overwhelming at times. The conference helped me realise it need not be done alone; help is at hand!
The conference launched the new Student Leaders' Manual – also known as 'Being a CMF rep - for dummies'! This sketches out CMF's work and how we fit in, gives ideas for talks and debates, and has information on training courses. Do you want to have a mission week or hold a day conference? It'll help you with that too. As well as being highly practical, it also deals with personal issues of leadership. What more could you ask for?
Mark Pickering and Alex Bunn were in Northern Ireland from 30 March-1 April for Confident Christianity teaching with 35 students from Belfast and Dublin. This was hugely enjoyable. Students were encouraged to follow the apostles' example and share the gospel 'in words people understand, in an environment where they feel comfortable and with the opportunity for discussion', before role-playing common objections. It was very encouraging to see fruit from the recent blossoming of CMF activity in Dublin.
The same weekend several CMF students were in Nottingham for the BMA Medical Students' Conference. Anna Soar from Newcastle had a motion debated and a part voted through, encouraging doctors to consider the potential physical and mental risks of abortion and advise women accordingly. Nick Riches writes:
Predictably, this generated some heated debate and, while there was a broad consensus as to the importance of counselling, other parts of the motion proved more controversial … it is simply a privilege to be able to raise points that may not otherwise be made and to challenge viewpoints that are perhaps simply being taken for granted.
This is another example of CMF students getting stuck in and making a difference.
I hope you are encouraged to hear a little of what is going on around the country. Do pray for our students, who are standing up for Jesus in a difficult and often hostile environment – they need our support!