Sunday 22 January 2012

My 2012 New Year letter to Christian doctors and medical students

The British films ‘Iron Lady’ this year and ‘The King’s Speech’ last year have been widely acclaimed and have sparked much discussion and reflection on Britain’s history. But I wonder if like me you were encouraged particularly by the two Christmas speeches over the holiday period - the Prime Minister’s speech and the Queen’s speech.

David Cameron paid tribute to Christianity’s influence on Britain’s literature, art, language, culture, music and law to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible but the Queen went even deeper, focusing on the reconciliation and forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ.

As Christian doctors and medical students in 2012 we face many on-going challenges as we seek to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ the Great Physician and fulfil his call to preach the Gospel and heal the sick.

Political and economic chaos, increasing hostility to Christian faith and values and growing healthcare needs both here and abroad in the face of shrinking budgets and constant reorganisation of the health service impact all of us both professionally and personally. The need to stand together and to ‘stir up one another to love and good works’ have never been greater.

CMF exists to provide you with the connections, opportunities, resources, training and support you need to help you better fulfil your own personal calling as part of Jesus’ Great commission. Let me tell you just about a few of the resources, events and new developments for 2012.

On 13 January, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Christian leaders gathered for a special memorial service for the Rev Dr John Stott to celebrate and give thanks for his astounding legacy to the church. John Stott’s classic talks on ‘Serving Christ in Medicine’ are available through CMF. Also just published is ‘Foundations’ our new comprehensive survival guide for junior doctors packed full of articles, testimonies and questions covering just about every issue at the interface of Christianity and medicine, and ‘Unwanted Same Sex Attraction’, sent to you with your Christmas mailing, deals sensitively and biblically with issues of pastoral and counselling support in a challenging area for the church. All these resources and more are available via the CMF website.

Please pray and please come to one of our two key national conferences this year on 10-12 February when around 400 will attend the National Students’ Conference at Swanwick with John Lennox speaking on the theme of ‘Joseph Chief of Staff’. Also at Swanwick on 27-29 April is the CMF National Doctors’ Conference. This year’s theme is ‘Heroes of Faith’ with Bible readings by Pablo Martinez, Spanish psychiatrist and popular international speaker. Much more details and booking information are available on the CMF website. Please do pray for these events.

CMF’s big new project this year will involve upgrading our website to help provide you with better personalised access to connections, opportunities, resources, training and support that is appropriate for you. Every CMF member will have a personalised page with secure access that will help you to connect with other Christian medics in your locality, workplace, church network and speciality and will enable us to give you information and support that is specifically tailored to your needs. Watch this space.

Please keep praying for CMF’s influence in public policy through parliament, media and the institutions. We rejoice that CMF, through Care Not Killing, was able to marshal a very effective campaign aimed at discrediting Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying which reported in the first week of January. The issue will not go away but the opposition to any change in the law in both parliament and in the medical profession remains strong. This year we face fresh challenges too. Please pray for us as we work through both parliament and the media to promote independent counselling for women with unplanned pregnancies, to oppose the legalisation of presumed consent for organ donation in Wales and to resist attempts to change the legal definition of marriage from one man one woman for life. We will keep you informed of all the latest developments.

Finally do remember CMF in your support for good Christian causes. Like most Christian charities we are struggling to maintain income in these difficult economic times and our Christmas Appeal for students has fallen about £50,000 short of its target. So if you were intending to give but have not yet done so it is not too late.

May I wish you all God’s wisdom, blessing and enabling as you seek to serve Christ through medicine this year.

The video with this address is available on you tube.

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