Jennifer Rossiter is a clinical medical student and NSC rep in the North West.
On a cold November Friday evening, CMF members from across the North West (Manchester, Liverpool, Lancaster and Preston) made their way to a large farm house in Rochdale, owned by a couple of amazing GPs called Joan and Fred. We spent Friday evening getting to know one another; playing silly games, chatting and eating some great food, and by the end of the evening, anyone would have thought we'd known each other for years!
On Saturday, we were joined by a few more from locally and further afield to take part in a Saline Solution course. This is a fantastic course run by CMF which teaches why we should share our faith with patients (and colleagues) and also how we can do so. The course involves different styles of learning, such as talks, group discussions, personal reflection and prayer. One of the most significant aspects for me was learning how to discuss faith with patients in an appropriate way, and how this ties in with GMC regulations about sharing and discussing faith.
The course also gave us the chance to think about our own faith stories, and our own relationships with Jesus. We considered how to share our testimonies in short, concise ways which was not something many of us had seriously thought about before. Practising it and thinking about it carefully means that when you are talking about your faith, you know that you're explaining why it's so important to you in a coherent way. This is particularly useful for people like me who tend to talk a lot, meaning my main message gets lost in all the chatter! After doing the course, there are email updates which help remind you of what was learnt, and also prompt you to continue thinking about them. The rest of the weekend was spent getting to know one another better, eating yet more awesome food and, for some of the braver ones, going on a very rainy walk which apparently was great fun, though they did come back absolutely drenched!
Building relationships across the region has been so valuable, both practically and socially. Most of the groups in the North West are quite small, so collaborating means that we can run courses like Saline more effectively, and getting to know each other meant that we were more excited and motivated to do more events in the future. We created a Facebook page for the region shortly after the weekend and have been using it to invite one another to events that individual groups are running, as inspiration of future events, and to just keep in touch. If you're in the North West and aren't in the Facebook group yet, search for 'CMF North West' on Facebook and join!