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Thirty-three nurses participate in the NCFI leaders conference to build up the work amongst them in Europe. “Our identity in Christ is what makes the difference”, a participant says.
The Nurses Christians Fellowship International (NCFI) Europe leaders conference was held at Felden Lodge, Hemel Hempstead, UK on October 8-11.
The participantes were representatives from the countries of Europe where NCFI has groups, as well as Christian nurses from other countries interested in being part of the group.
In total, 33 delegates from Spain, Norway, Finland, Armenia, Romania, Germany, England and Scotland.
The aim was to share the different experiences of the leaders of different movements of Christian nurses throughout Europe, and to bring together young, emerging and potential leaders with experienced leaders.
VERY DIFFERENT GROUPS FROM ALL OVER EUROPE
The groups are very different from each other. For instance, Armenia does not have a national group, but it brings together Christian nurses under the umbrella of the Armenian Christian Medical Association (ACMA), which is a NGO that provides medical care to remote regions of Armenia.
Germany has no group of nurses, but a nurse who has a passion to see something established in her country came to the gathering.
The community of Scotland has closed, but two of the former leaders attended to see what they could transmit to a future generation.
Other national groups are struggling to find younger leaders, reach and involve the new generations is proving difficult. Others are in that process and brought a good mix of both young and experienced leaders.
THE KEY ROLE OF RELATIONSHIPS
Beyond the cultural and theological backgrounds, all participants agreed on the need to foster fellowship among Christian nurses and equip them to develop their faith in their workplace.
The motto of the conference was 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, emphasising the importance of personal relationships.
The conference programme was deliberately interactive. Country groups had time to meet and discuss issues together, but then there was room for larger group discussions, as well as plenty of time to share experiences. There was also time for each community to present reasons to pray with the larger group.
Participants were able to reflect on the characteristics of a leadership based on Jesus' model, and work in groups on personal values and priorities. Another of the main topics was mentoring, as a valuable tool to transmit knowledge and attitude skills. This should be done from a deep biblical perspective, with the aim of being a witness of Christ in the workplace, discerning God's plan for life, and looking for other people to mentor.
“The general feedback was positive, and the bonding and fellowship between individuals in different nations were very good”, says Rosa Lopez, the NCFI European Region Chair.
NETWORKING BETWEEN COUNTRIES
The Danes invited the English team to teach and encourage their leaders to engage with students; Romanians and Spaniards deepened their existing bond and are exploring ways to relate Romanian nurses with the Spanish community.
The Nordic countries are working on the creation of a sub-regional group to possibly organise joint events. And the only delegate from Germany was encouraged to look for ways to work with the other groups to help her launch the group in her country.
“A follow-up meeting in the next two or three years would make sense, not only to re-examine the issues raised and the connection formed here, but also to attract Christian nurses in other nations (eg, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland, Netherlands) where we have contacts but there are no active groups”, Lopez says.
“WE HAVE STRENGTHENED AS A GROUP”
“This meeting has been a wonderful opportunity to encourage each other, honestly sharing our challenges, our successes, our crises ... our reality. We have realised that we all go through the same difficulties and that being connected and praying for each other is a great resource that God gives us”.
“We have strengthened as a group and have worked together and enjoyed communion. For the nurses who first attended a conference outside their borders, a large window was opened and the global vision of the group and the ministry of Christian nurses”, she adds.
Some nurses commented how they felt supported and encouraged “to take the first step towards a new relationship between their vocation as a nurse and their spiritual vocation”.
“OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST IS WHAT IT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE”
“Our identity in Christ is what makes the difference in our identity as nurses. And our identity as nurses will affect the relationship with our patients”, said Elena, a Spanish nurse.
Marion, another participant, believes that the meeting “was well planned, in an excellent location, with very very different participants, and topics that presented the theme of Christian fellowship at all levels”.
“We trust that attendees can continue to grow. Thanks to the Lord, the conference has fulfilled its aims and I consider it a privilege to have participated in it. We move forward with our eyes on Christ and trusting in God, who sustains our lives every day, whatever our circumstances”, concludes Rosa Lopez.
The NCFI World Congress will take place in 2020 in Denver, United States.