From CMF news - winter 2009 - new growth [p04]
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This is some of the feedback from a succession of wideranging regional and specialist conferences hosted by CMF around the country this autumn.
Immediately after our regular annual conference for psychiatrists, who continue to come to London from all over the UK, the regional conference for the South-East considered Coming out as a Christian – Handling conflict in the NHS. We got off to a great start with testimony interviews from Caroline Petrie, a nurse temporarily suspended for offering to pray with a patient; Tamie Downes, a GP referred to the GMC for encouraging women with unplanned pregnancies to consider keeping their babies; and Sheila Matthews, an experienced community paediatrician and adoption adviser, who is still in conflict with her employing Trust for asking permission to abstain from voting for proposed 'gay' adoptions. The rest of the morning was devoted to a talk on the importance of spiritual care, a summary of biblical teaching on when Christians come into conflict with people in authority, and outlines of what the law and our professional bodies are saying on these issues. In the afternoon there was a lively panel discussion with input from many participants.
The Northern conference near Scarborough has always had a family feel to it and record numbers this year enjoyed warm fellowship, Bible readings on how our relationship with Christ can impact our lives 24/7, and a keynote lecture on the challenges of teenage sexuality. This was the third year we have run a conference for retirees at Hothorpe Hall and although numbers were lower than previously, those who attended enjoyed the opportunities provided by a more intimate conference.
The Midlands conference in Nottingham addressed issues around vocation, the theology of work, and practical issues of work-life balance.The need to make positive career choices rather than allow ourselves to drift into things was highlighted. Those attending Scotland's conference at Gartmore were encouraged and challenged by Bible readings and seminars on the theme What does it mean to love God in practice?
For the first time we ran a day conference for juniors wanting to explore how to follow God's call, as they work their way through the uncertain waters of the government's MMC programme for trainee doctors. This was a marvellous day of looking at biblical principles, sharing personal stories, and providing dedicated time for experienced consultants and GPs to give practical advice to doctors in training in small groups and one-to-one.
The junior doctors' weekend conference at Hothorpe Hall also drew record numbers who were inspired by Bible readings from Philippians and looking at Christ as our model, together with a wide range of seminars and plenty of time to relax together.
Whether you're coming back as a 'regular' or this will be your first year, next year's national conference 23-25 April promises to be a great weekend.
John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and a well known Bible teacher and apologist, will be speaking from Acts on the theme Onto the Front Foot; there will be a keynote lecture about Christians in medical education, and a wide range of seminars, in addition to the usual opportunities to worship, pray and relax together.
It has been encouraging visiting local CMF groups as far apart as Dundee and Plymouth. One leader of a new CMF group in a town in the North-East has been surprised to discover that over a few months his contact list has grown to 40. At my visit he commented: 'I think God is doing something here!' It's surprising how quickly a group can grow when a leader invests time in it.
Nationally, a small group of doctors, who sense a fresh call from God, has started to look at ways in which they can serve the community by offering NHS services specifically as Christian healthcare providers, and a few have already obtained contracts on this basis. Do contact me if you think this might be for you.
In addition to the developments planned for graduates work in 2010 (see front cover), a new department Head will be needed from spring 2011 when I retire. If you want to explore this possibility, please be in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org