What makes CMF West Yorkshire different? Yorkshire is not called 'God's own Country' for no reason. With the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, there is also a rich history (York was a Viking settlement) and, if it were a country, Yorkshire would have finished 17th in the 2016 Olympics (ahead of Canada and New Zealand!). The largest city is Leeds, where I have lived for the past six years, and where West Yorkshire CMF student and doctors' ministry is centred.
Student events cover a 'discussion topic', directly relevant to healthcare students. We're careful to distinguish meetings from other Bible studies locally, and hold most meetings in student houses, to enable a more informal and relaxed gathering. (Who wants to be at the medical school past 5pm?)
2018-19 began with a 'give it a go' event, with around 20 students at the CMF Student President's house, socialising (with biscuits, popcorn and sweets) and reflecting on 'Is University Life Compatible with Christianity?' We discussed areas where stereotypical 'university life' might conflict with Christian principles, and how to tackle these issues in a godly way. We were blessed with the biggest turnout at an event in many years. It was encouraging to see so many students, both familiar and unfamiliar, attend and contribute.
CMF West Yorkshire has a central group of people who make up a Catalyst Team to help serve the area. Roles include Catalyst Leaders (who help the running of the group), Prayer Catalyst (self-explanatory), Transition Catalyst (who helps those who are moving in and out of the area), and International Catalysts (who focus on mission abroad). Each team member undertakes a role they enjoy and are strong in, with medical students and doctors serving.
Our local Catalyst Team Leaders are a great source of support. Noel is a surgical registrar and Laura a paediatrician; both are undertaking PhDs and have two young children, but still host a variety of events, at least on a termly basis, where they welcome us into their home for a talk and homemade food. These well-attended events are a great opportunity for students to meet doctors and gain insight into working life as well as garner advice and support. It is great to meet some of these doctors on the wards whilst on clinical placement and to see a friendly face!
A highlight for me was a talk from Mark Pickering, 'Taking your next step of faith'. It was around the time when I was choosing which deanery to apply to for foundation training, and helped remind me that God has a plan for my life and to trust him with the unknown.
Noel and Laura have also hosted OSCE practice sessions and offered emotional and academic support. It is a real privilege to have doctors willing to invite you into their home during periods of exam stress, and for them to listen and help. During my years here, it has been amazing to have a stable sense of support from people that don't merely understand what you're going through on a spiritual level, but also understand the stress of placements and the demands of medical school. I will no doubt find it very difficult when I leave Yorkshire to start work in August, and lose this home away from home.
Jade Bunsie is a medical student in Leeds