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Stimulating Christian conference

by
01 April 2010, at 1:00am

DAVID BARFOOT reports on the latest conferences of the VCF.

WITH over 500 on the mailing list, the Veterinary Christian Fellowship has members in all the UK undergraduate veterinary faculties, in academia, general practice and government veterinary departments, with a number serving overseas in such places as Bolivia, Haiti, Indonesia, Darfur and other African countries where animal medicine and husbandry are so sorely needed. In addition, we welcome veterinary nurses, both trainees and qualified.

We have just enjoyed two very stimulating conferences (these are held every two years): a northern gathering in Wigton, where 42 students and vets, including a welcome contingent from Northern Ireland, enjoyed the hospitality and cooking of Mike and Marcia Christian! Their home at Woodside Farmhouse is well known to generations of Glasgow and Edinburgh students. 

Down south in Huntingdon, 34 vets, some with their spouses, and undergraduates gathered at the Houghton Chapel centre.

Challenged 

Both had great fun, making new, and renewing old friendships, and being challenged by biblical teaching and its relevance to our personal and professional lives. 

Alice Hall is a vet in practice part time, and training as an Anglican lay reader. Taking three Old Testament prophets and some of the enormous challenges they faced, she effectively applied lessons they learned to our day-to-day lives. Group discussions, worship, a fell walk and an energetic ceilidh all made for a memorable time together in Cumbria. 

In Huntingdon, George Hauptfleisch had some very helpful insights to share in a biblical perspective of money: what it is and how we should use it. Over three sessions he linked the wisdom of Scripture with his own experience of building a practice uncompromisingly on these principles.

Chad Abraham (not a vet), founder of the Luminus group, gave an inspirational talk on how, using just these same Christian principles of business integrity, staff care and excellent service, he had built a company which is now among the top 12 voted by the Sunday Times as the best to work for. Whilst Christians would not claim a monopoly of good practice and ideas, it is interesting to note how many of these principles are to be found in the Bible. 

The same mix of friendships, worship and discussion, with exercise provided by an evening of fiercely competitive ten pin bowling, made a stimulating and enjoyable time for all. 

At our general meeting, we elected and welcomed our new president, Professor Brian Aldridge, who is head of the population medicine group and professor of production animal medicine at the RVC. 

  • For further details about the VCF, visit the website www.vcf.org.uk or contact the secretary, Ali Budgell, secretary@vcf.org.uk.