Northern Territory State Report – Dr Geoff Harper

4 MINUTE READ

from Luke’s Journal CMDFA 2020 Vol 25 No 1

Darwin from up high!

History and overview

Darwin has a transient medical workforce and medical fellowship groups have started and stopped over the years.

CMDFA Darwin started meeting regularly in early 2016, when the local AFES university chaplain had the idea of bringing together Christian medical students and doctors. He saw the medical students on campus struggle in their faith as they came to busy clinical years and recognised a need for them to be connected with Christian doctors. Shortly after our initial meeting, Dr Ross Dunn (former CMDFA national chair) visited our group in his travels around the country to encourage smaller regional groups.

Currently we meet four times a year and invite healthcare students and professionals from all fields. Usually we have around 20 people attending from a variety of local churches. Every time we meet, we have a meal and share fellowship. Each meeting also has a speaker or topic that is discussed. In the past, topics have ranged from euthanasia, to overseas medical missions, and sharing your faith at work.

Seeking the prosperity of the city – June 2019 dinner and talk

In June last year we were lucky enough to be addressed at our meeting by Professor Ian Harper. Although Ian holds the title “Dr” he is not a medical doctor: he is an economist. His talk was entitled “Seeking the prosperity of the city: serving God as an economist”. Ian was converted to Christianity when he was already well into his career as an economist. He needed to wrestle with the question of whether his secular training could be used for God’s kingdom. He found that it could. He expounded the way in which he uses his profession to serve society to the glory of God, just as Jeremiah was called to do:

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” – Jeremiah 29:7

He explained how good economic policies could benefit individuals – for example, in facilitating employment, providing for material needs, and promoting justice. During his career, he has been involved in such things as setting the minimum wage in Australia as the inaugural chair of the Fair Pay Commission. This work had a great impact on the prosperity of Australians. Currently he is a board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia helping to set interest rates – again, an opportunity to seek the prosperity of the city.

We were encouraged by another believer from a different discipline to see how we could serve God as we serve society in our healthcare roles. He also spoke on personal finances and illustrated how money is a great servant, but must not become the object of worship.

Professor Ian Harper has written a book Confessions of a Meddlesome Economist, which outlines some of his involvement in significant economic events in Australia’s history as well as the story of how he came to Christ.

Alice Springs fellowship

The Alice Springs healthcare fellowship meets approximately every 2 months on Saturdays with a range of 6 to 30 people attending in fellowship, prayer, eating and testifying to God’s work.

Contact: cmdfadarwin@gmail.com to get connected with a CMDFA group in the NT.

Dr Geoff Harper

Geoff is a GP living in Darwin. He works in private general practice as well as visiting Darwin Correctional Centre once a week to provide healthcare to prisoners. He attends St Peter’s Anglican Church in Nightcliff. He has three school-age children who keep him busy apart from work!

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