CMFnz is moving towards being a Christian medical voice on issues of importance in New Zealand. We are working towards developing consultation processes and discussion documents to enable informed debate and thought within our membership as well as the wider Christian community. In recent years our advocacy focus has been on the Euthanasia and assisted suicide legislative debate, but we are broadening our scope to look at our collective position around the changes in abortion law and how this can impact Christian doctors. We also want to start to share our voice and expertise with the wider Christian and healthcare community on other health and wellness issues.
Our activities within the euthanasia debate were reactivated in June 2017 when David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill was drawn from the ballot. The Bill is proceeding through the Select Committee process, and CMFnz has presented written and oral submissions to both the Health and Justice Select Committees. CMFnz has a position on medical euthanasia which holds that it is dangerous for both patients and New Zealand as a whole. CMFnz as an organisation is strongly opposed to euthanasia or any form of physician assisted suicide. As doctors we have many ethical and practical concerns about the possibility of legalising euthanasia or PAS. For many of us our view of the inherent value of human life that the Bible teaches also forms our view. We encourage our members to learn more about these issues for themselves and form their own stance on this frequently debated topic. If you wish to be involved in the development of our advocacy work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Developed by IHS Global, the Saline Process is an opportunity to learn how to integrate faith and practice, learn to be a workplace witness, and practice medicine that addresses the needs of the whole person. In 2018 CMFnz supported Saline Process Training events in main centres around the country to encourage health professionals, doctors and others to have the joy of meeting the expectations of our Lord Jesus Christ to be Salt, Light and a Witness to him as resurrected Lord and Saviour.
The training provides practical tools to help a Christian demonstrate the love and reality of Jesus in healthcare, all with permission, sensitivity and respect. Within the training, five main questions are addressed:
• Why is faith important to healthcare?
• What are the opportunities and barriers to fulfilling God’s call?
• What is my role?
• What are the tools I can use to cultivate, sow and harvest?
• Where do we go from here?
If you wish to attend one of these courses in 2019 you can attend a face to face training day in a centre near you or you can start learning on your own via an online course found at https://www.ihsglobal.org/SPOT. The Saline Process training system also includes a Saline Process Training-the-Trainers (SPTTT) course, which equips those who have completed the Saline Process to, in turn, train other Christian colleagues in their region or locality. We are keen to develop a team of trainers so we can offer this training in more places and equip more people healthcare to share their voice. For more information please contact email@example.com
To continue supporting advocacy/ saline, CMFnz needs financial support. If you would like to support CMFnz as a regular giver or to offer a one-off donation please follow this link: www.cmf.nz/donations or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ICMDA / Pacific Islands
The International Christian Medical Dental Association (ICMDA) is the parent organisation of CMFnz. It is interdenominational and connects Christians in medicine and dentistry in over 80 countries all around the world, equipping them to live out their faith at work. As well as providing access to courses and resources (like the Doctor’s Life Support), ICMDA hosts a World Congress every four years.
The most recent World Congress was held in Hyderabad, India, at the end of August 2018 and brought together over 1000+ Christian doctors and dentists from more than 84 countries. The theme was “In the Footsteps of the Great Servant Healer.” Keynote speakers Dr Daniel Ho, Dr Helen Sigua, Raj Kumar and Reverend Charles Price challenged and inspired delegates to be “a light to the nations.” Seminar speakers addressed topics including bioethics, understanding world views, mission, Christ-centered leadership, starting up community projects, mentoring, compassion fatigue and burnout, a Christian response to mental health issues and palliative care. Regional groups (including Oceania) met together to discuss the unique challenges in their particular area of the world and form collaborations for God’s glory.
Thoughts from ‘kiwi’ delegates of the biggest impacts from the ICMDA World Congress:
“However, what stood out most for me was connecting with, learning from and encouraging other brothers and sisters in Christ. Hearing their stories about how God had been, still was and would continue to be with them was humbling and encouraging as I was reminded that our God is real and is faithful (even when one’s life is at risk or one is disowned by their family because of their faith).” – PGY delegate
“For me this was my first time attending any sort of international event, I found it amazing how healthcare professionals and students from around the world can be united around this common theme. It has always been inspiring for me to think of medical work as participating in the healing work of Jesus, but this gathering from all the corners of the earth gave a great picture of how he is at work bringing healing throughout the world - including in many different contexts where it is sorely needed. I met countless health professionals who had left their home countries to bring healing to those who need it, ranging from mission hospitals in the Congo, to temple prostitutes in India and refugees in Bangladesh.
I would highly recommend attending a world congress if you ever get the chance. I particularly valued seeing some of the students from Papua New Guinea being able to attend, and look forward to seeing that movement continue to grow with the support from the rest of our region. Aside from the great opportunity to build relationships, the six days were filled from start to end with amazing teaching to both feed spiritual our growth and inspire our work. The teaching at the student pre-conference was very encouraging and inspirational, definitely provoking me to think about how I can invest more into my fellow students in Dunedin, and how we as CMF can continue to develop leaders who will be able to shape healthcare and our organisation into the future.” – medical student delegate, assisted by CMFnz to attend Our Oceania brothers from Papua New Guinea were incredibly grateful for the financial assistance they received to attend the conference. “It was such a great honour and privilege to be part of ICMDA World Congress. I really enjoyed my stay in India - Hyderabad. Everybody I came across at the Congress was really friendly and open. It was really wonderful to meet and talk with Senior Health Professionals (Doctors, Dentists and Nurses and other Allied Health Workers) and fellow medical and dental students and to learn from them. Having the common understanding on how to share the love of Jesus Christ in our professional life’s and career and most importantly to share the Gospel of Jesus to others.” “[Indeed], thank you to the organisations and people who donated assisted towards my trip to attend the ICMDA World Congress – India.” PNG Doctor delegate, assisted by CMFnz to attend.
To continue supporting our attendance at world conferences, CMFnz needs financial support. If you would like to support CMFnz as a regular giver or to offer a one-off donation please follow this link: www.cmf.nz/donations or email email@example.com
Student Leaders and Vision Conference
"CMF has connected me with other students who want to wholeheartedly serve Christ, with doctors who can model that …, and with other Christians at university who also want to serve Christ.”
“I’ve made a tonne of friends with Christian medical students from all around the country through CMF events like CMF conference! It’s been really encouraging to hear how we are all learning to serve Christ in our vocation together.”
Each year CMFnz assists student leaders from Auckland and Dunedin to attend the CMDFA Vision conference for student leaders in Australia. Each student who has attended has come back to NZ inspired and encouraged to develop a strong fellowship within their campus groups and maintain connections throughout their medical journey.
The feedback from the CMDFA hosts about New Zealand students is always so positive:
“I just wanted to … say that we really enjoyed having the NZ students at Vision. They really grabbed the opportunity with both hands and contributed so much to each session, and weren't afraid to stand up the front and talk, and also help out where needed. Thank you for sending them along and I hope we can continue to support NZ by having students at our conferences and sending Australian students to your conferences.”
Similarly, feedback from the New Zealand students about the conference is really encouraging:
“The Vision Conference was amazing, definitely well worthwhile in terms of meeting young doctors and other student leaders. I think it was really a unique opportunity to receive support as leaders, and start making plans for the year … I think it would be amazing if we could have a similar thing in NZ!”
“The array of speakers and presentations at Vision was second to none. It was great to talk to people who had expertise in Christian Worldviews and Leadership Qualities.”
“Personally, I found Vision was an opportunity for reflection and throughout the weekend, I could feel my faith growing stronger as I became closer to God.
“Initially, I can remember feeling very nervous about the conference as I didn’t know anyone else who was attending [but]… from the moment I arrived, I was warmly welcomed … and the conversation flowed. I shared many interesting conversations with the people I sat with over the 3 days...
“The itinerary … was packed with worship, prayer, workshops, bible studies, fellowship, mentor groups with even a chance to explore the Gold Coast scenery. The speaker for the weekend was Associate Professor Andrew Cole, a Chief Medical Officer in Australia who led us through bible studies whilst delving into the Book of Daniel. Through the bible studies, we learnt about Daniel’s trust in God, Daniel’s strength to stand up for his beliefs and his willingness to live his life according to God’s plan. Andrew planted the seed by highlighting some ideas which led to some interesting discussions within our Mentor groups...
“On the Sunday, we were also given a selection of 4 workshops we could attend which were aimed at ‘sharpening Godly leadership traits’. I found both of the workshops I attended very informative and well worthwhile…
“Throughout the weekend, we were able to exchange ideas about events and activities to run within our CMF groups. I found everyone to be encouraging and very supportive. The conference was invaluable to me. I came away from the weekend with so much knowledge, many new skills, friendships and an experience I will never forget.”
To continue supporting our student leaders and vision conferences, CMFnz needs financial support. If you would like to support CMFnz as a regular giver or to offer a one-off donation please follow this link: www.cmf.nz/donations or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“For most medical students, the transition at graduation to junior doctor is exciting, stressful, challenging... For me (and many of my Christian peers) it raised two extra faith-related challenges. The first was how to work with integrity, striving to do my work to the glory of God and bearing the fruit of the Spirit. This was hard in the busy, efficiency-driven, hierarchical, medical work environment with difficult work colleagues and difficult patients! The second challenge was around ethics in healthcare. In medical school I was taught medical ethics and in God’s word I was taught the inherent value of human life and of compassion and empathy. Now that I had the title of doctor, these things practically combined in end-of-life discussions, my prescribing, treatment decisions, how I talked with patients, opportunities to pray with patients. I had to practically decide how to honour God in my practice and how to “follow Christ” in the hospital corridors and clinic rooms. Being a member of CMFnz was a great help during this time as it linked me with other Christian doctors of all ages to talk these challenges through, debrief challenging cases, and support each other when things didn’t go well.”
“The other day I was reading through the book, Foundations – a survival guide for junior doctors, and came across a quote that said, “Fellowship with other believers is vital to surviving and thriving as a junior doctor”(1). This made me stop, and think… “How has this statement applied to me?”
On reflection, starting as a junior doctor was exciting because I finally got to help others but it at the same time it was daunting because of the responsibility it entailed. Since then long days and long weeks have been (and still can be) tiring. At times workload, colleagues, patients and their families, have seemed demanding or overwhelming. And uncertainty about diagnoses, prognoses and determining God’s calling have been stressful. But there have also been beautiful opportunities to share with and in the lives of patients and their families.
It is within this context that I have really appreciated fellowship with fellow believers. For me fellowship has occurred with family and friends, at church and work, but it has also occurred at local, national and international CMF gatherings. Indeed, the opportunity to talk, listen, learn, laugh, cry, give thanks, voice frustration, sing praises and pray together has been refreshing, relieving and rejuvenating. The opportunity to hear from and share alongside fellow Christian health professionals has been particularly encouraging as our connection and understanding goes deeper than simply medical science or faith alone.
I am aware that work, study, exams, frequent moves around the country or the world, the prospect of fame or fortune, relationships, and other distractions can eat away at, replace, or make Christian fellowship difficult. But as Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” So, if you feel disconnected and/or would like more information about fellowship (in particular, how you can connect with, support, or be encouraged by others), I encourage you to refer to the following articles: “Finding Christian fellowship,” which can be found in Foundations – a survival guide for junior doctors (2), or “Choosing a church” (3). Alternatively, you could meet up and pray with some of your colleagues at university or work; attend church or a Bible study; be a part of CMFnz’s student groups in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin; attend one of CMFnz’s regional event’s in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin; or come to CMFnz’s national conference, 2019 Reflect, from 17-19 May 2019 in Dunedin.
A key part of the success of CMFnz is in the sense of community and family support that comes from members of all ages and stages. The CMFnz community hosted special church services in both Auckland and Dunedin to celebrate and bless the graduating Christian medical students. At the end of 2018 for the first time, we invited all medical students who were graduating, along with their family, colleagues and support people, as well as all CMFnz members to attend these special services on the occasion of graduation.
We prayed and worshiped together, and enjoyed talking together over refreshments afterwards. We are keen host these services each year and invite all local CMFnz members and supporters to join together in celebrations for the graduates and offer a sense of community and blessing as they embark on the next step of their medical journey.
To continue supporting junior doctors, CMFnz needs financial support. If you would like to support CMFnz as a regular giver or to offer a one-off donation please follow this link: www.cmf.nz/donations or email email@example.com
Annual National Conference
The Christian Medical Fellowship of New Zealand Inc holds a national conference each year and for many, this is a highlight of the year with the opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues away from the work environment and to reflect on their faith in their practice, and to refresh themselves through fellowship and worship.
We welcome delegates from around New Zealand, the Pacific (including Australia), and even some “kiwis” who are based overseas. It is wonderful to see medical students, junior doctors, consultants, nurses, other allied health staff (including hospital chaplains), spouses and their families come together, to encourage and inspire one another.
The medical student sessions, and the Saline Process Witness Training usually offered as a workshop prior to the main conference, are very well received and provide an opportunity for students and graduates to learn more about how they can integrate faith into practice.
The main conference always includes fabulous keynote speakers, and a devotional speaker to lead all in worship together and thought provoking bible studies. Addressing such issues such as, finding God in the workplace and dualism, serving in a pluralistic society, using the Sabbath as refreshment and resistance, making change and taking time to reflect. Worship, stimulating small group seminars and sessions, group activities, and free-time helps to fill in the rest of the weekend.
This year’s conference is 2019 Reflect: Medicine Outside The Box to be held in Dunedin 17 – 19 May 2019 and registrations are open now!
For more information please see: http://www.cmf.nz/2019reflect
To register go to: https://www.ivvy.com.au/event/CMF19/
This year we have developed a membership directory for the first time to enable CMFnz members to connect within their own regions, as well as have contacts in other locations. We have identified Regional Contact people to assist if moving into a locality for the first time, Regional Hosts who will set up gatherings of local members, Senior Support Doctors who are willing to act a sounding boards and as informal mentors to discuss issues, Hospital Cluster Support Doctors who are willing to set up meetings and be available for students on placement in hospitals and junior doctors to touch base with, and identified the National Board Members so they can be contacted with feedback and discussion.
To continue supporting new graduate doctors in their faith during the transition from study to work, CMF needs financial support. If you would like to support CMFnz as a regular giver or to offer a one-off donation please follow this link: www.cmf.nz/donations
Dear CMFnz Members and Supporters,
A caring community is one that supports and nurtures us through good times and also times of need. Part of creating this community is ensuring that we are connected to genuine support and involved in vibrant groups and activities. It also means sharing our achievements, our needs, and helping others.
CMFnz is a network of Christian doctors and medical students united in their common loyalty to our Lord Jesus Christ. Together as a caring community, we seek to deepen our Christian faith and set the highest attainable standards of Christian and professional conduct, and promote in the medical profession a personal faith in Jesus Christ and the acceptance of his ethical teaching.
We all have a role to play in being part of this community, and making CMFnz a setting where community spirit can thrive and reach out across members and beyond.
We share with you this week an update on our achievements and our needs going forward. Please prayerfully consider how you can share your gifts with CMFnz, and get in touch.
In Christ's love,
Helen Saunders, CMFnz Chair
Christian Medical Fellowship