ICMDA SEVENTEENTH WORLD CONGRESS REPORT
The International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) has a vision to see a Christian witness through doctors and dentists in every community in every nation. As an association, its mission is to start and strengthen national Christian medical and dental movements.
Some have called previous ICMDA conferences, a 'taste of heaven'. The Seventeenth World Congress in Tanzania did not fail to live up to this, bringing together nearly 1,000 delegates from 106 countries for the sole purpose of worshiping Jesus and learning how to serve with love in a hurting world. We enjoyed great teaching during the main talks, pre-conference, and conference seminars, covering a wide variety of topics pertinent to us as healthcare professionals. It was refreshing to learn alongside brothers and sisters serving across the world, some still at the beginning of their medical and dental careers, and others senior leaders in their countries. A particular highlight for me was the opportunity to speak with people at the CMF bookstall, where we were able to equip people with helpful resources at discounted prices and, in some cases, for free. In addition to the conference, it was wonderful to explore all the exciting sights and sounds of Tanzania with friends and family.
'How good, and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity' writes the psalmist in Psalm 133. And indeed, it is a beautiful thing, and foretaste of when we will all worship together before the throne.
The main talks from the conference can be accessed online on the ICMDA YouTube page, and we look forward to the next world congress which will be held on Jeju Island, South Korea, from 30 June to 5 July 2026.
Paula Busuulwa, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Speciality Trainee, Liverpool, UK
For me, the ICMDA congress was a huge blessing in so many ways. First and foremost, it was being reminded of our calling and identity in Jesus, that our primary purpose is to be in relationship with him who is our source. It seems so basic, yet so easily forgotten in the day-to-day grind. I also needed to be reminded of the simplicity of sharing Jesus; over the last nine months or so, I have often got so focused on other things in clinical work that I have sometimes forgotten that I went into nursing and midwifery to share Jesus with people.
I took part in the PRIME pre-conference stream, which I found very useful for my situation. While I am in clinical practice in Burundi, my heart is to be a more effective educator. Now I am more equipped. Especially interesting was learning the different ways of educating and deeply examining the model of Jesus as a teacher.
Finally, the ICMDA congress provided a wonderful opportunity to network and meet so many like-minded people. I was deeply encouraged to hear other people's stories and experiences. I managed to meet many obstetricians and paediatricians, which was great. At one of the lunch breaks I connected with a brother based on the other side of Lake Tanganyika who I had been meaning to connect with for a while. We finally arranged a meeting to his mission hospital next month. Overall, a brilliant time; thank you God and to all who organised this ICMDA congress.
Ruth Sloman, Midwife based in Burundi
The congress was a fantastic chance to connect with Christian healthcare professionals from all over the globe. Along with a myriad of excellent speakers on a variety of topics, Voddie Baucham gave the daily plenary Bible talks, focusing on serving with calling, with compassion, and with hope. This was both rooted in Scripture and wonderfully practical, as the congress explored ways of 'serving with love in a hurting world'.
Seminar topics were varied and included servant leadership, volunteering, opportunities in mission and Artificial Intelligence in healthcare. A seminar on 'corruption in healthcare' highlighted an issue that manly healthcare leaders wrestle with globally. The seminar discussed practical ways to deal with corruption, and how, as Christian healthcare professionals, we can be distinctive.
One of my highlights was an impromptu evening praying meeting with healthcare workers from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, praying about the war in Ukraine. All were united under the banner of Jesus, seeking resolution and peace in this area.
For me it was wonderful to reconnect with doctors I had met and worked with over the years. These included doctors from Belarus, Romania, and Papua New Guinea. It was also wonderful to make new friends and connections.
Around Arusha there were many street vendors, selling artwork, crafts and souvenirs. There were also many selling bracelets with the word Polepole, which translates from Swahili as 'slowly'. For me, this was my take home message of the congress. A reminder of the need to slow down, recharge, take time to talk, listen, and step away from the constant noise and busyness of our lives.
Matt Baines, GP Partner, Coventry, UK
NURSES & MIDWIVES
NAMfest 2023We give thanks to God for the success of our first in-person NAMfest, which was held as a pre-conference this year at Yarnfield Park Conference Centre from 20 to 21 April. There were 53 of us in attendance, representing a range of specialities in nursing and midwifery, and at various career stages, from students to seniors. In a recent survey, the RCN reported nurses and midwives are experiencing 'unsustainable pressures' at work, so we invited Georgie Coster, our main speaker to talk about 'being sustained in unsustainable pressures'. What a privilege it was to worship our God together, 'our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble'. (Psalm 46:1)
Our times of prayer were tender, and our discussions were animated. Our relaxation workshops of dancercise, walking, art, poetry, pampering, and massage were well received, like a balm for weary souls, as many of our members are feeling burnt-out. Everyone agreed that it was a timely event, one participant said, 'Georgie was anointed, and it was a Word in season'. We'll have to do it again!
writers' retreatWe are continuing to cultivate our community of writers who can contribute to Spotlight, our nurses and midwives magazine, the CMF blog, and other written resources. In June this year, we retreated to Stanton House in Oxfordshire to create space in our otherwise busy schedules to write and hone our skills together. We deliberately left time in our schedule together to allow individuals to pray and reflect on their own, as well having time to write articles for Spotlight, liturgies for working, and sharing what books have inspired us recently. There was unanimous positive feedback for the event. One participant wrote, 'Thank you for organising this writer's retreat. I am blessed beyond measure'.
Global Track field visit to KenyaWhat took two doctors, one paediatric nurse , two final year students, and one CMF staff member to a Maasai village? The Global Track run by CMF gives 'Trackers' an opportunity to visit some health care work outside of the UK. This trip was hosted by Life in Abundance, a Kenyan based charity working in community health through churches. In addition to supporting the work of a clinic in a Maasai village, the Trackers also got the opportunity to see Kijabe mission hospital and learn of their work, hear of the Salvation Army health work in the region, and see medical work in the slums of Nairobi.
It is in such situations that we can apply the learning from the Track and pray for God to make clear his will for our lives. Talk about opening our eyes to both need and opportunity!
If you are a final year student or at the early stage of your career and interested in Global Health and Mission, we will be recruiting for Global Track 5 in spring 2024.
Contact email@example.com or go to cmf.li/GlobalTrack for more information.
leavingEsther Hughes stepped back from her Nurses and Midwives Staffworker role to go on maternity leave in June. Esther has been part of the nurses and midwives ministry of CMF since her students days, eight years ago, and has been a great asset to the team. Please join us in praying for her, her husband Jamie, and their baby as they prepare for this life-changing transition.
Marolin Watson retires this summer after many years faithfully serving as the administrator for the students team, and latterly for all CMF's field team. Her gentle and humble servant heartedness and attention to detail will be greatly missed, although she will continue to do some volunteer work for the team. Please pray for Marolin and her husband, John, as they move into this next stage of their lives.
Olu Lampejo left her role as Head of Operations with CMF at the start of June. Olu joined during the pandemic while the whole office was working remotely, taking on the management of CMF's administrative ministry in less than easy circumstances. Her warmth and diligence is greatly missed and we pray for her in the next steps in her career.
John Greenall steps down as CMF's Associate CEO at the end of August. After serving as CMF's Head of Student Ministries, he stepped up to take on the responsibility of developing CMF's volunteer ministry and managing the field ministry team. Please pray for him as he focuses on completing his paediatric consultant's training.
joiningGemma Griffiths will be covering Esther's maternity leave. Gemma has worked in the NHS as a midwife and will continue to work part-time in her role as a Growth Assessment Protocol (GAP) Midwife in Northampton. She is the first midwife to work on staff with the nurses and midwives team!
Graham Sopp is more of a 'returner' than joiner, as he steps back into the role of Operations Director, he handed over to Olu three years ago. He is with us until a permanent appointment is made in the Autumn.
Naomi Buckler joined us in June as Membership Engagement Developer - she will be working with us for a year to develop our membership communication, administration, and support.
CHRISTIANS IN HEALTHCARE LEADERSHIP NETWORK (CHLN)HI, I'm Chris Holcombe, the new CMF Associate for the Christians in Healthcare Leadership Network (CHLN). It is a pleasure to join the team at CMF and a privilege to be heading up CHLN.
Healthcare leadership is more challenging than ever, with impossible demands at every turn. And yet there has never been a greater need for godly leadership, and the application of God's Kingdom values in ethical issues, in the use of scarce resources, in the treatment of staff, and in the multiple decisions, meetings chaired, and emails answered every day.
We can and should have a prophetic voice, speaking truth to power locally and on the national stage, however unwelcome this may be. We believe that this can and will make a difference, but only if the salt gets out of the saltcellar.
CHLN has been formed to support Christian leaders in healthcare, and to encourage and equip those considering this as part of their career. We absolutely do not want to add another burden to your week, but rather to provide the spiritual and practical equivalent of a sweet, cold drink on a sweltering day, that refreshes and empowers.
Do get in touch if this is you. Let us know what you think and how we can best support you. To find out more and register with CHLN please visit cmf.li/CHLN or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I've been involved with CMF since student days, and am a recently retired surgeon, having held multiple leadership roles within the NHS. I am married to Sue, have four children, and eight grandchildren, we love living in Pembrokeshire, and I love to get to the mountains when I can.
CATALYST TEAMS UPDATESWe have four new Catalyst Team leaders starting this summer:
- Alex Rollings and Laura Anderson in the Southeast Scotland team
- Lorna Green in the East Midlands team
- Clare Brodey in the Wessex team
Hello, I'm Alex. I am an emergency medicine trainee and live in Edinburgh with my wife, Catriona, and son, Hamish. I am a sports enthusiast with a minor obsession with triathlon and the premier league. I am excited to be a part of the work that God is doing in Scotland through CMF.
Hi. I'm Laura and I am married to Stephen (a vet and farmer). We have three lovely children. I have variously lived in South Africa, Surrey, and Leeds. I did my GP training in the Scottish Borders. Since 2015 I have been working as a GP in Scotland and more recently have taken up a role as GP advisor with the Scottish Ambulance Service. During the last 30 years, I have also received excellent, life-saving NHS care myself, for which I am grateful. I have been the Prayer Catalyst for SE Scotland for two years, and now look forward to working with Alex as co-team leader for Southeast Scotland. When I'm not doing any of the above, I like meeting up with people for a coffee, Pilâtes, swimming, and walking or running - the order is important!
Hi, I am Lorna, a GP working in Leicester. I live in South Leicestershire with my husband Stephen. I love meeting up with people for a good brunch/coffee, being outside, playing netball in my village, and traveling. I have been on the East Midlands Catalyst Team as the Evangelism Catalyst and I am excited to see what God will continue to do through CMF in the East Midlands. Hi, my name is Clare. I'm the new Catalyst Team Leader for Wessex. I'm really excited to continue building on what the Catalyst Team has already achieved in Wessex. I moved to Winchester for my foundation jobs and got involved in the Wessex CMF Junior Doctors group in 2014 before completing my GP training at Southampton. I have been encouraged to see the support, teaching, and encouragement that CMF events have provided for Christian healthcare professionals across the region. I'm looking forward to continuing to grow this team, to help individuals step out in their purpose to see Gods kingdom grow and transform their area of the healthcare system. I'm praying that each person's faith would have an impact on those around them and that CMF can come alongside them to encourage and equip them in their journey.
To contact any Catalyst Team leader, or find more about our Catalyst Team network, email email@example.com or visit cmf.li/Catalyst
Saline Solution updateWe have so many reasons to praise God for the way the Saline course enables and encourages healthcare workers to be bold and effective as they live and speak for Jesus in their workplaces.
Our team of trainers continues with virtual training over Zoom and with in-person events, usually over a whole Saturday. All of the events are advertised on the CMF website and open to all healthcare workers and students.
At recent events people have found it helpful to come back and redo the course as a refresher. Saline Solution has been recently updated and is relevant and encouraging with links to resources elsewhere.
After a recent in-person course, D.O., a medical student in Scotland, wrote: 'Really great material, particularly the "three barriers", spiritual history questions, lunch, fellowship, medical papers, and resources.'
N.V., a physiotherapist, said of the Southampton event: 'I loved how practical all the guidance has been - the toolbox is brilliant'.
Another wrote: 'The best thing was meeting other really amazing people keen to share the gospel'.
J.A., a trainee chaplain, found she 'valued it all greatly' and 'loved hearing from others'.
Sheila Matthews is now sharing the co-ordinator role, enabling Stephanie Moss to engage more through the ICMDA with the worldwide Saline family, to see new trainers equipped in Moscow, Norway, and South Korea, and to encourage our colleagues in Europe.
Our annual Saline Festival is coming up shortly (on Zoom on 18 November). We are delighted that Dr Patrick Dixon will be with us to share some of the Talking Jesus report for our encouragement. We encourage anyone who has done Saline to join in and share stories of how God is at work in your locality.
Medicine, Mission and Me 202311-15 September 2023Criccieth, North Walescmf.li/MMM2023
Join us for a four-night retreat as we consider what the Bible teaches about mission and what God is doing in the world today.
Refugee & Asylum Seeker Health Course (RASH)16 September 2023Preston, Lancashirecmf.li/RASH-Lancs-23
A day course to equip Christian healthcarers to better support the health and social needs of refugees and asylum seekers housed in their communities.
East Midlands Regional Day Conference30 September 2023Eastwood Hall, Mansfield Road Nottinghamshire NG16 3SScmf.li/EastMid23
What does it mean for us to 'prisoners of hope' in our workplaces, places of study, homes, and communities? Join us to look at holding on to hope in our own faith journeys.
Seniors' Conference: 'Old?'9-11 October 2023King's Park Conference Centre, Kings Park Rd, Northampton, NN3 6LLcmf.li/SeniorConf23
A three-day residential conference for those near or in retirement to explore what the Bible has to say about the most productive years of our lives.
Junior Doctors' ConferencePersonal Truth10-12 November 2023The Hayes CC, Hayes Ln, Swanwick, Alfreton DE55 1AUcmf.li/JDC23
Join us for a weekend of supportive fellowship, fun, and immersion in Scripture as we explore the real truth of Jesus in a post-truth culture.
Pat Ashworth(b 1930, q Kent County Ophthalmic and Aural Hospital, d Portstewart, Northern Ireland, 2023)
Pat was a leading light in the field of critical care nursing, having worked and trained around the UK for many years. In 1973 she became a research fellow at Manchester University. From 1979 to 1986, she was a World Health Organization Advisor to the Working Group on Respiratory Intensive Care. In 1979, she was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing. Pat moved to the University of Ulster in the mid-1980s, and in 1985, she was the first editor of Intensive Care Nursing.
But behind this professional picture was another Pat Ashworth, who had a passion for serving Christ in her professional life and equipping other nurses across the globe to do the same. She was one of the early leaders of Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI), serving as part of the Executive Committee until 1969.
After her retirement in the 1990s, Pat worked tirelessly to support the professional development of nursing in Romania. I remember vividly trying to keep up with her strolling through the Transylvanian mountains at the NCFI European Conference in Romania in 2010. I was then a forty-four-year-old man who ran marathons, and I was struggling to keep pace with this tall, cheerfully indefatigable woman who had just turned eighty! Her wealth of knowledge of the country and the profession was matched only by her loving connection with many Christian and secular nurses across Romania and neighbouring Moldova. I have learnt a lot about servant leadership from the years I spent working with her on NCFI business.
As another leader in NCFI told us:
Pat was soft-spoken and kind. She had a brilliant, analytical mind but never had any airs about it. She listened carefully to others' opinions and always affirmed them. She was meticulous in remembering details of events and people. I will always cherish how kind and encouraging she was when I was starting out in leadership with NCFI. Pat was a humble, faithful servant of Jesus who left a legacy in Christian Nursing that we all would do well to emulate.
Her latter years saw that great energy of spirit undimmed, even as her body ceased to have the strength and stamina she once had. But she used this time to write a comprehensive history of NCFI.
Mr Duncan Maclean, FRCS(b 1939 Locharron, q 1964 Edinburgh, d 2022)
Described as 'archetypal rural general surgeon', Duncan was the sole consultant surgeon in the Lewis Hospital in Stornoway, the Outer Hebrides, for 20 years until, in 1992, the new Western Isles Hospital opened, bringing, in time, a second general surgeon. Duncan continued to serve there until 2004, whereupon he and his wife Anabelle went on to serve as missionaries in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal. He was chair of the Western Isles Free Church Mission Support Group. Duncan was deeply respected for his strong Christian faith and was a Deacon and Elder in Buccleuch and Greyfriars Free Church in Edinburgh and the Free Church in Stornoway.
Other members who have died recently:Dr Janet Anderson (q 1965)
Miss Janet A Christie
Mr Frank Garlick, FRCS
Dr Hugh James (q 1968. Kings College)
Dr Robina Moar (q 1957 St Andrews)
Dr Peter Moore (q 1975 Cardiff)
Dr Martin Orrell
Dr Sheila Scotchmer
Steve Fouch is CMF Head of Communications