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Building community, strengthening ministry

winter 2009

From CMF news - winter 2009 - Building community, strengthening ministry [p01]

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As Christian doctors living in uncertain times we face huge challenges. Growing hostility to Christian faith and values means that Christian organisations and individuals, especially health professionals, are increasingly coming under attack. In addition we are confronted with huge and growing health needs both here and abroad, with much of the disease burden being a consequence either of bad lifestyle choices or neglect of the poor and vulnerable.

    These challenges call for Christian doctors to be strong on:
  • compassion for vulnerable people made in God's image
  • courage to be advocates for the voiceless, and
  • community to encourage and stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24,25), as we offer hands and hearts for Christ's service.

At such a time as this, the need for Christian doctors and allied health professionals to 'stand in the gap' together is greater than ever.

Autumn appeal

Our autumn appeal this year is focusing on 'building stronger fellowship and community'. We have three priorities in 2010 to achieve this:

Strengthening graduate ministry

CMF student ministry is strong and thriving. We now have groups in 39/40 medical schools in the UK and Ireland and this year 420 attended our national students' conference in February, making it the largest ever. Over 60 students attended our leaders' training conference and over 60 our Irish students' conference. CMF student work is strong because it is well-resourced. A staff team of four doctors working part time is about to be strengthened when Giles Cattermole starts as Head in January 2010 (see p3).

By contrast, our graduate work is seriously under-resourced. We are therefore planning to appoint two part time medically qualified field workers alongside Kevin Vaughan - to support juniors, GPs, and hospital doctors better; to recruit new members; and to strengthen local and specialty groups. We will shortly be advertising, so if you think this might be you please let us know. We are looking for doctors with gifts in evangelism, encouragement and pastoral ministry.

Both Kevin Vaughan (see p4) and Andrew Fergusson (see p5) are due to retire by March 2011 and we will be advertising for their replacements in the New Year. Additional field workers are therefore doubly important as we seek to provide good continuity at a key time of transition.

Strengthening allied professions ministry

While we are strong, our sister organisations supporting Christian nurses and allied health professionals remain small and struggling. At present, our Head of Allied Professions Steve Fouch serves on the board of Christian Nurses and Midwives (CNM) and also acts supportively managing CNM's website, editing their magazine, maintaining a database, and providing administrative support for their conferences. However, membership remains around 200, representing only a tiny proportion of the country's Christian nurses. The same headlines apply to the other allied health professions. Having strong sister movements is essential for CMF, but in our experience will best be grown from the bottom up, starting with students.

With warm support we are therefore aiming to appoint a full time nurses' and allied professions student staffworker in July next year. A similar strategic appointment in 1992 revolutionised CMF medical student ministry. We will be advertising shortly and looking for a qualified nurse with ministry gifts in evangelism, encouragement and pastoral care, and with a heart for students. Please draw this exciting opportunity to the attention of any Christian nurses you know who might be up for this challenge.

Strengthening connections

In 2009 CMF has strengthened IT, with excellent new database and financial systems, improvements to our website, and the introduction of online joining, giving, conference booking, and book sales. Our new DVD (see p5) gives a fast-paced overview of the breadth of CMF's work and communicates powerfully all we are already doing. But technology is moving on rapidly and we are only too aware we are only scratching the surface of what new media can currently offer. Now that we have a robust Data Protection policy agreed and about to be implemented, we want to link members much more effectively through internet forums and special interest groups. We want to provide better pastoral support and put you in touch with other doctors who share your specialty, special interest, or who work in the same hospital or region. We also want to keep you better informed and up to date through videos, blogs, MP3 audios and more focused e-communications relevant to you, so aim to appoint a full time high level web developer in July 2010 to help make these features available.

Please pray

Please pray about all these new developments - that God would raise up the right people for these four critical new posts and provide the financial resources necessary - in order that we can continue to equip, encourage and support Christian doctors, nurses and AHPs to be faithful to Jesus Christ in this generation.

Article written by Peter Saunders

More from CMF news: winter 2009

  • Building community, strengthening ministry
  • Central services
  • new faces
  • new growth
  • several came along at once...
  • the wider horizon
  • partnerships
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    uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
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