The men of Issachar, who rallied to the cause of King David, 'understood the times and knew what to do' (1 Chronicles 12:32). The need to take inspiration from these ancient leaders was the keynote of Glynn Harrison's Rendle Short Lecture.
The sexual revolution, declared the Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, is 'rooted in ideas, it didn't just happen'. In the situation we now find ourselves in, it is people who 'hold to traditional values who find themselves on the wrong side of popular opinion and sometimes even the law'. People of faith are portrayed as promoting a way of life that is 'harmful, implausible...pretended'. Ideologies like radical feminism and queer theory are modern forms of Gnosticism and they are driving the sexual revolution forward. They are 'the plausibility structures of a new moral order'. So Christians need to be confident that they have a better story to tell. He asked his audience, 'Where are the Christian apologists and theologians who are grappling with these ideas?
Lindsay Brown, of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), encouraged younger Christian doctors to ask those of earlier generations how they combined clinical work and witness, and about the challenges they faced, how they overcame them and how God helped. 'A Christian doctor without an historical perspective will be spiritually impoverished,' he said. His three talks on 'hope in a world of suffering' began with Psalm 73's piercing lament about the apparent silence or absence of God. He later turned to the book of Job as a starting point for a biblical answer to the problem of pain and suffering, and from 1 Peter encouraged us to stand firm in adversity.
For the first time the conference ran a nurses' stream. Sixteen nurses from around the UK attended seminars looking at the Christian basis for the '6 Cs of nursing', an overview of the Christian history of nursing and application of this to nursing today. It was a great time of fellowship and encouragement and we trust seeds sown will bear fruit with many more joining us next year.
Over 40 student leaders gathered and attended tailored training sessions. Subjects included 'Why CMF?' and 'how to plan a programme'. Needless to say there was lots of fun and banter. Please pray for these leaders as they seek to impact and inspire their local groups to live for Jesus.
New CMF Chairman
New CMF Chairman Ken Toop has succeeded Peter Phillips as CMF Chairman. Before retirement Ken was a consultant gynaecologist based at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, and he worships at Stockton Baptist Church. Outgoing Chairman Peter Phillips gave his endorsement: 'I recognise him to be a man of considerable spiritual strength and wide experience in healthcare.' We thank Peter for his service Ken Toop as Chairman.
Finance: your gifts make a difference
The outturn for 2014 was better than budget – a deficit of £36k against a budgeted deficit of £99k. The key factor in meeting our 2015 budget target will be the response of members to our Spring Appeal where we hope to raise £80k. New approaches being tried this year include: an appeal to Friends of CMF; team support for staffworkers, especially those in face-to-face ministries; refreshing efforts with grant-making trusts for projects like the Human Journey and to support medical student leaders in other parts of the world.
We thank God for the generous support from members, particularly those who give over and above their CMF subscriptions. One of CMF's strengths is our broad base of support through subscriptions, but voluntary gifts make up over 40% of our income and make a huge different to the work we can undertake.