Supper meetings have been a highlight of the CMDFA programme in 2019.
Speakers have included Dr Andrew Browning (who spoke of his work with the Barbara May Foundation in Africa), Dr Reg Zahiruddin (who was held captive by the Taliban in Northern Pakistan and threatened with beheading) and our friends Dr John and Sally Padgett (as they prepared to return to the mission field). Numbers varied from twenty-two, to in excess of forty!
We also met in the home of Dr Joe and Liz Romeo in Narrandera and what a blessing that was! This was attended by local doctors, some not Christian. Rob and Dawn Wiles drove seven hours from Cooma to attend. Peter Keith from Wagga and Ken Curry also attended.
In our last meeting, we used Zoom to stream Graeme’s presentation to members outside Sydney. This was something of an experiment, but worked well with members in Cooma and Narrandera able to participate, ask questions and comment. The plan next year is to make all of our supper meetings available to rural and regional areas by Zoom. It is free to download and userfriendly.
Advocacy has been one of the main thrusts for CMDFA in 2019. To continue to stand strong as a body and to speak as one, close communication, teaching and fellowship are essential. These are provided through our supper meetings and we recommend them to all members and suggest that you might invite nonmembers also.
The elements of a successful supper meeting are hospitality, fellowship, teaching, praise and worship, an interesting presentation and a good meal. If members would be willing to host a meeting in Sydney or in a regional or country area, we would be glad to hear from you and will provide every assistance. We already have some ideas for 2020 but if you have ideas for a theme to be addressed, please let us know.
See reports from two meetings below.
God provides a hospital
In August there were two meetings. The first was at our home in Castle Hill. Thirty-six people attended to hear German surgeon Klaus-Dieter John speak of God’s grace in providing a teaching-standard hospital for the Peruvian Quechua people in the Andes – without capital, income or loans.
He spoke of the vision that he and his wife, Martina, had for these people, and of how that vision had been realised. He spoke of the thousands of people who had received treatment in the hospital, of the many conversions and changed lives. He also spoke of the people from around the world who had come to assist in the hospital, and of how their lives had been enriched. There had been opposition from some sections of the medical community (primarily interested in income generation), but God had been faithful to bring them through all opposition and oppression.
One of the happiest aspects of the evening was the time of fellowship over a good meal. Members met with new friends and old. Students, interns, nurses, and long-standing members were present. We recognise fellowship as a vital element of our programme, and will continue to promote this in supper meetings, dinners, conferences and seminar programmes.
On August 31st, there was supper meeting at the home of Dr and Mrs Graeme Hughes in Bellevue Hill. Graeme is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UNSW and was a founding member of Sydney IVF. Graeme pre-empted his presentation with these words:
“We are in a new exciting phase in reproductive technology. We are discovering some of the many ways God has been, and still is, working in this area. Scientists and doctors are now trying to copy these amazing ‘God given processes’ and it is hugely exciting!
“However, there are new and old challenges facing Christian doctors and nurses involved in this area of medicine. I am not a theologian or law expert in this area, so I will focus on the medical advances and ethical issues in reproductive technology, and the way patients are using this technology. The talk is mainly about the IVF process, frozen embryos, donated gametes and embryos, preimplantation genetic diagnoses and surrogacy, but will also quickly cover my understanding of the abortion law ‘reform’ in NSW.”
Dr Harvey Ward flew down from Coffs Harbour for the occasion. We were delighted that he was able to bring his own expertise to contribute to the discussion. He summarised the evening as follows:
“Old friendships were renewed, and new friendships made, as Bronwyn served a delightful meal of Asian cuisine. Following this, Ern warmly welcomed members and partners and introduced Graeme and Bronwyn. There was a special welcome for Russell Clark who had been a mentor to Ern during his residency and had been a godly influence on both Ern and Graeme.
Graeme led a time of praise and worship with stirring heartfelt renditions of Christian hymns and songs including: How Great Thou Art, Bless the Lord Oh my Soul and Charles Wesley’s conversion song And Can It Be. These grand songs were interspersed with passionate prayer and the atmosphere was thick with a holy warmth.
We settled into a most informative talk from Graeme supported by a colourful slide presentation. He spoke of the intricacies of the earliest moments of the creation of life and of God’s miraculous design and attention to detail. He touched on the flash points of ethical decision-making with the natural attrition of conceptions, the miscarriage risks and the problems associated with spare embryos after IVF. Some spirited discussion was entered into regarding the responsibility borne by a couple having these embryos and the decision of their fate being the parents’ rather than the doctor’s responsibility. Time did not permit an exhaustive coverage of the topic but, after the formal part of the evening ended, many of our party of twenty-two stayed behind for coffee and continued lively discourse late into the night. We resolved to do it again. And soon!”
Dr Ern Crocker BSc (Med) MBBS FRACP DDU FAANMSErnest is a nuclear medicine and ultrasound physician living in Castle Hill. He is a past Clinical Director of Westmead Hospital and worked with Sonic Healthcare until his retirement in 2018. He is currently the NSW State chair of CMDFA. Ern is the author of several books on the intervention of God in healthcare.