Exciting times for students
Reflections on the autumn term
Deep:ER It's a great encouragement to have seven Deep:ER volunteers on staff this year. Chris Borges da Silva, Monica Hemaya, Nandi Mnyama, Joanna Obire, Rachel Owusu-Ankomah, Liz Poppleton and Sarah Wright are working on a number of projects both in the office and elsewhere. As a team we have bi-weekly teaching sessions on topics ranging from 'How to study the Bible' through to 'End of life issues' and 'Is God a moral monster?' Applications are now open for next year. If you are considering a year out or are willing to drop a day to Connect & Grow, Speak & Serve more effectively, visit: www.cmf.org.uk/students/volunteer
As well as numerous creative Freshers' events, this term has seen the five regional away days and weekends - entirely student-led. One Irish attendee noted an unforeseen benefit of the weekend: 'The fact that Internet connection was poor, allowed me to break away from technological distractions'.
A South West Day drew students from Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Plymouth, and Swansea where they considered worldview and the sexual revolution. One student said how valuable they found it to be in providing 'a space to talk about and think practically about scenarios from a Christian point of view, and more broadly to be thinking about the influence of worldview on actions'. Local graduates are key to this work - you can mentor a student, speak at a group, host a meal and feed off the student enthusiasm.
CMF nurses groups continue to grow across the UK. This term Pippa Peppiatt, CMF Nurses Staffworker, spoke at new groups for nurses in Cambridge and Nottingham with further groups currently starting in Swansea and Plymouth.
'This summer, myself and six others from St George's had the privilege of attending Forum - a national conference to meet with Christian Union leaders from across the UK to prepare our hearts and minds to give our universities the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout the day there were several series of seminars. I particularly enjoyed thinking and learning about how best Christian Unions can engage with Muslims and share the Gospel with them. With main meetings focusing on Philippians, I discovered that mission requires us as believers to be united and with humble hearts bring others to understand the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. When we face challenges as leaders, it's so helpful to be encouraged to remember the bigger picture and that one day mission will end as we fall to God's feet and worship him'.
Second year student, St George's, London
North West weekend away
This October saw the second annual North West weekend away with medical and nursing students (and even one speech and language student!) We all piled into an old farm house just outside Manchester belonging to Joan and Fred, two fantastic GPs who have a heart for hospitality (and feeding students)! As well as incredible food, games and activities, Reverend Dr Robin Fisher spoke about how easy it can be to discuss spiritual things with Muslim patients and friends. He challenged us to learn more from our Muslim friends and patients about their beliefs and ideas and how natural it can be to bring Jesus and the security of our salvation into these conversations.
Overall, it was encouraging to hear how other students around the North West are seeking to bring Jesus into their work. The weekend was also a great opportunity to encourage and be encouraged by experienced doctors, like Joan, Fred and Robin, who have been faithfully practising for many years.
A highlight of the weekend had to be the Saturday evening when we chatted around a couple of outdoor fire pits under a clear, starry sky - not something to be taken for granted in Manchester!
Junior doctors' conference
Hold on to the truth of the Gospel
Hugh Thomson, former upper GI surgeon and pastor of City Church Birmingham, spoke at this year's Junior Doctors' Conference from 2 Timothy.With the theme of' Turbulence in the NHS', talks and seminars focused on what it means to live as a Christian doctor in a culture that is increasingly hostile towards God.
In the main talks, Hugh encouraged us to hold on to the truth of the Gospel. Like human anatomy, he said, the truth of the gospel doesn't change. Therefore, s we know the truth, we should not be ashamed of it. We know this can be difficult. Our society's mantra is an inherently post-modern one - it believes that truth is subjective ('you're free to have your beliefs, just don't impose them on others').
So then, as Christians who believe in the objective truth of the Gospel (good news that's true for everyone), we shouldn't be surprised when we experience discomfort and persecution -but even expect it. Yet, we don't do this in our own strength or on the basis of our own merits but instead 'Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead'(2 Timothy 2:8). As we seek to take a stand for the truth in hospitals, clinics, or elsewhere, we 'Preach the Word…in season and out of season' (2 Timothy4:2), relying not on ourselves but on what Jesus has already done for us.
Seminars were a highlight with topics including: 'What's "gone wrong" with the NHS?', 'Transgender', 'The ethics of mitochondrial manipulation', 'Stress and burnout' and 'International'. There was also the chance for delegates to meet up with others in their region, explore the beautiful Leicestershire surroundings and pray together.