National Conference 2009

With Dr Jeremy Beckett

After the storm came a gentle whisper... (1 Kings 19:11-13)

Conference Highlights

A reflection by Mel Cameron, Auckland

  • Staying up late listening and singing along to impromptu musical worship.
  • Being encouraged and inspired by the Christ-like role models around us who showed us how they personally made the connection between their work and faith.
  • Being stuck in the hills above Living Springs in a hailstorm and being reminded of God’s presence, peace, and precious promises as a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Feeling like a young and naive 3rd year medical student, I was thirsty to soak up wisdom from other Christian doctors and students and knew I had to be at Christchurch for the 2009 CMF conference. A group of us left by plane from Auckland and on arrival were transported (with thankfulness for such a selfless sacrifice) to Living Springs Conference Centre looking out over the beautiful Governors Bay. There we were greeted by incredibly friendly people from Dunedin and Christchurch who quickly made us feel welcome.

The keynote speaker was Dr Jeremy Beckett, a GP anaesthetist from Perth, Australia, who is the author of the book Tessellating. He taught on the same topic as his writing: about bringing our faith and practice together so that all of our life and work is united with the same higher purpose of bringing glory to God. He pointed out the strengths and weaknesses common in our profession and how they influence our faith, particularly focussing on two areas that are often troublesome for those in the medical profession:

  • Having our identity centred in God and not in our profession (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
  • Accepting and remaining in the freedom of His grace while striving towards bringing Him glory (Jeremiah 2:13)

With the blustering storm outside mirroring the often stressful and frantic nature of our lives, the cosy room with fellow Christians was a good place to remind us of the slow and patient, relationship- centred nature of faith – a journey that is a response to grace and is about trusting and letting go, accepting brokenness, and being prepared to not always have things black and white. With this in mind we considered some of the questions and challenges posed by psychiatry from a Christian context with Dr Jubilee Rajiah, a Dunedin-based psychiatrist.

Other highlights were the cross-cultural medicine panel where we discussed the challenge of being missional doctors both overseas and in New Zealand, and enthusiastic devotionals by Kathy Mayes. Choosing from the long list of seminars was impossible, and I thoroughly enjoyed the thoughtfully-planned practical sessions I was involved in covering faith and its implications in science and ethics.

Main Speakers

Jeremy Beckett

Jeremy Beckett is a GP Anaesthetist based in Perth. As the Chair of the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Western Australia, he worked at the grassroots supporting, challenging and mentoring Christian medics. Now, he and his wife Bethany are both involved with the national Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia, speaking at National Conferences and Student Leadership Conferences. Jeremy is passionate about teaching, and is the author of the book Tessellating which seeks out the heart of what it means to be a Christian doctor.

Jeremy's series of talks are available on MP3

  1. Grounding Your Identity
  2. Cricothyrotomies and Conversions
  3. Compassion Over Cynicism
  4. Leaving Your Legacy

Kathy Mayes

Devotional speaker, Southland-born Laidlaw College Academic Registrar Kathy Mayes, pastors at a small but active DIY church near Christchurch where her ability to get to the practical heart of the scriptures has been much valued.

Jubilee Rajiah

Dunedin based Consultant Psychiatrist Jubilee Rajiah works primarily for the University of Otago at the Student Health Service, and part-time with the Otago District Health Board. She was born and brought up in the South of India and graduated from the Christian Medical College of Vellore before working in mission hospitals in India and South Africa. Jubilee was asked to assist with counselling on the South East Indian coast after the tsunami in 2004 and became involved in relief work. Her special interests are in social and cultural psychiatry.


Belief & Perception of Illness

A study of different belief systems, their effect on patients' understanding of illness and how to raise these issues clinically.

Christians in Psychiatry

An exploration of some of the many issues that arise for Christians in this field.

Negotiating the Junior Doctor Years

A practical discussion on what to expect and how to meet the challenges of a demanding job while thriving as a Christian medic.

Christians in Conservation

Humanity’s relationship with our natural environment raises issues that aren’t unique to Christian medics, but concern many of us today. We engage with biblical themes as we discuss interacting appropriately with the earth.

Christian Healing

Doctors with experience in both overseas mission and New Zealand healthcare lead an exploration of Christian healing and our approach to it in the workplace.

Faith and Science

Dichotomous or inextricably linked? How soundly does our scientific knowledge support our faith? How do we evaluate truth, and how do we deal with apparent conflict between science and Scripture.

The Saline Solution

This valuable programme is full of practical tools, covering issues such as how to discuss spiritual matters in a secular environment, taking opportunities to witness to patients, giving hope, and dealing with time pressure.

Practical Options in Crisis Pregnancy

A frank assessment of the alternatives and how to communicate them

May 08, 2009 at 4:00pm - May 11, 2009
Living Springs Camp & Conference Centre
218 Bamfords Rd Lyttleton
Christchurch 8971
New Zealand
Google map and directions


get updates