The celebration of Healthcare Sunday began in the UK in the mid-nineties, from where it has spread around the world. It is held on the third Sunday in October, close to 18 October, the day traditionally known as St Luke’s Day. Recently, this initiative has grown rapidly in South Africa, with some many churches being asked to participate this year. Healthcare Fellowship International and Christian Medical Fellowship co-promote this celebration in order to:
- To bring the service of healthcare workers to the specific, praying, attention of the community of faith.
- To illustrate and emphasise the impact that the local Christian community is having on healthcare.
- To encourage active support of healthcare workers and healthcare projects within the community of faith.
This year Healthcare Sunday falls on 19 October 2014, the theme being ‘Healthcare in Crisis – an opportunity?‘. We compiled a brochure for distribution among the churches and invite you to download it. Feel free to print out the brochure and make copies for distribution – there is no copyright on it.
Next year’s Healthcare Sunday will take place on 18 October 2015, in case you need this information when printing your church calendar.
Healthcare in Crisis? Dr Tommy Gray
I humbly propose that this year, Healthcare Sunday be utilised by the church and healthcare practitioners countrywide as an opportunity to come before the Lord in repentance and prayer regarding the crisis in healthcare and to re-dedicate healthcare in general, to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is urgently needed for several reasons.
- Healthcare is no longer, as it once was, predominantly Christian in nature, character and outlook, and has fallen from its once noble calling.
- Healthcare as a profession is in trouble, and is often failing dismally to meet the healthcare needs of the people it is serving. We are all too often harming, hurting and disappointing those whom we have been called to help.
- To an alarming extent it appears that healthcare practitioners have lost their love and compassion for their patients. Many professionals no longer view their job as a calling and a privilege. Some see it as a way to financial security, others as a science to be practiced coldly and clinically, and still others as a way into the job market. I have followed newspaper reports and readers’ letters pertaining to health and its related services and come to the sad conclusion that people have largely lost their confidence in healthcare, and its practitioners, both in the private and public sectors.
- To summarize the above into one sentence: God has withdrawn His hand of blessing from healthcare, with devastating consequences. Unfortunately this is also the case with many other sectors / industries in our beautiful country.
- I believe it to be appropriate for us as the body of Christ to join hands with healthcare practitioners, to observe Healthcare Sunday 2014 as a day of prayer, repentance and re-dedication of healthcare to the Lordship of Christ.
Rededication of Healthcare:
A Scriptural basis
Angus Buchan once said: “The solution to South Africa’s problems lies primarily with the believers,not the government or any other group of people”. In thinking over this statement, I came to the conclusion that,if this statement is true for the country at large, then surely it must be true for the healthfield as well. The solution to healthcare’s problems lies firmly in the hands of the believers in healthcare, and no one else!
A crisis in healthcare? This may be so but it need not stay that way. We have the opportunity to intervene. The answer is found in God’s perfect and infallible word. In 2nd Chronicles chapter 7 we are presented with a synopsis of Gods way of restoring a desperate / hopeless situation. I believe that in studying this portion of scripture, we will discover a perfect “recipe” for the restoration of healthcare, and any other sector which may be in a similar situation.
2 Chronicles 7: 13-15
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people, if My people, who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
When I shut up the heavens so there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people.
This is a description of any situation where God has withdrawn His hand of blessing from a people. To paraphrase this in terms of healthcare: “When I withdraw my favour from healthcare in this country”. Notice that when God withdraws his favour, it affects Christians and non-Christians.
If my people, who are called by my name,
When God wishes to apply a solution to the situation, He addresses the Christians exclusively. Any situation where God has withdrawn His blessing from a community or group of people, is therefore immediately a wake-up call to the Christians in that specific community.
Will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land
Here the Lord gives us precise instructions as to what to do.
A: Humble ourselves
C: Seek Gods face
D: Turn from our wicked ways,
God will hear from heaven and forgive our sins (yes even the sins of Christians in healthcare) and heal healthcare in South Africa.
From the above we can see that the dedication of Healthcare Sunday to repentance, prayer, confession of sins and re-dedication of healthcare to Christ as the first step in the healing process for healthcare in South Africa. It is my hope and prayer that Sunday October 19 will be a turning point for healthcare, and the start of a healing process, which with time will flow from healthcare to other sectors as well, for example education, agriculture, mining, legal system, industry, etc.
HOW TO PRAY
- By using 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 as proposed.
- Please pray for Christian healthcare workers to effectively apply these principles and stand in the gap for the restoration of Godly healthcare in South Africa.
- Pray for Christians in healthcare to see their workplace as their responsibility and mission field.
- Praise God for many Christian healthcare workers who are being “salt and light” and effective witnesses in their place of work.
The Christian Medical Fellowship of South Africa, has been in existence for more than half a century. It seeks to encourage healthcare workers to glorify and honour Christ in their daily practice, linking faith and service. Through mutual study of the Word, prayer and fellowship, members are strengthened and encouraged to serve in their place of work, according to the example of Christ. To find out more about us, please visit our website at www.cmf.org.za.
Healthcare Christian Fellowship gives glory to God for 70 years of ministry to healthcare staff. It is interdenominational and operates as an arm of the church. Constrained by God, Carl and Francis Grim founded the fellowship in South Africa in 1936. From here, the fellowship has spread to many parts of the world. The mission of HCF International is to extend God’s Kingdom in the health field worldwide through prayer, evangelism and discipleship. Christians in the health field have unique opportunities for witness and service to the needs of the whole person, through compassionate ministry.