I was challenged by the penultimate paragraph in Andrew Brown's article (p6-7). Reviewing 60 years of CMF, he wonders why more Christian doctors don't join?
It was 1976. I'd been a Christian four years, was doing my house surgeon job in the sticks, and a consultant physician there was a CMF member. He discovered I was a Christian (I don't remember how), found out I wasn't a member, and suggested I join. He handed me a form the next day.
I wasn't working directly for him, so contacts were few and far between and it was easy to do nothing. It's another story for another day, but I became an SHO (and later a registrar) on his firm. He asked me again about CMF. I did nothing. He gave me another joining form. I still did nothing. He took me in his rather nice Rover to a CMF meeting. Another joining form appeared the next day, and I suppose in the end it was the parable of the persistent widow and the judge (Luke 18:1-8). I suppose I also thought, well, I will need a reference in a year or so - and I joined. I've just checked the date on the CMF database here; it is recorded as 1 April 1977!
I started going to more local meetings; a conference or two; was asked to join the Junior Doctors' Committee; got seconded to the Medical Study Group; and the rest as they say is history. I joined the staff on 1 April 1989, became General Secretary in 1990, and stayed until the end of the millennium. Seven years and some globetrotting later, I came back.
So, what's my point? As Andrew Brown challenges us, there are many Christian doctors out there who could be members but aren't. (We did a little research in the mid-1990s and concluded that for every Christian doctor who was a member there were at least two and probably three who could be members but weren't.)
We need each other. I think every Christian doctor should join CMF - well, he would say that, wouldn't he? But we join organisations for one or both of two reasons: what's in it for me? And is it a worthwhile ministry that I should support? I think CMF scores on both counts.
In the autumn we're having a recruitment blitz - we'll send you a DVD to introduce the Fellowship to colleagues and to your churches, and another copy of that attractive new joining form. And it's easy now join online. Back in the 1970s, my boss persisted. You must know somebody who could rejoin or who hasn't joined yet…
Andrew Fergusson is CMF Head of Communications.