Conference

2019 Conference Announcement

Free Methodist Healthcare Fellowship Fall Retreat:
September 20-22,2019 at the Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana

Theme: Serving God Throughout our Professional Lives

Speaker: Dr. Bill Morehouse

He has spoken often locally and at the Christian Community Health Fellowship National Meetings. Through his talks and discussion, we will explore Christian calling to students, residents, practicing health professionals and the issue of retirement.

Invite a student, resident, young doctor, dentist, nurse, or someone older or considering retirement. Share this newsletter with them.

Make room reservations directly through the Essenhaus (800) 455-9471 or (574) 825-0052
Cost is around $150 a night, depending on what room you reserve.
Room block is held until August 20. You can cancel without penalty up until then.

Pay registration when you arrive: $125 for one person, $40 for a spouse, which includes Saturday evening banquet. There is student scholarship money available. Also, if we know enough in advance, we can likely fund childcare for the sessions. Contact normetterau@aol.com for questions or to indicate need for child care.

Dr. Bill Morehouse - 2019 Keynote Speaker

By: Dr. Bill Morehouse, MD

I grew up throughout the Northeast after my father’s return from WWII, moving multiple times over the years to follow his career in engineering. With each move we became active in a local mainline Protestant church, including Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal congregations where I became involved in youth work. By the time my undergraduate medical education was complete, I had matriculated at 12 different schools and expanded my religious perspective into a misguided global interfaith belief in the goodness of mankind, coupled with the New Age sense accompanying my emerging liberal “hippie” lifestyle that all religions were basically groping around the same set of truths.

I chose to attend the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky with its focus on primary care because I wanted to be a personal physician (“a real doctor”) who cared for everyone in the family. I went on to residency in the new Family Practice Program in Rochester, NY because its emphasis on caring for underserved rural and urban populations was in keeping a persistent sense I have had that doctors and communities should focus their attention on the places in society that need the most help, similar to the way we focus more of our attention on the sick parts of a person while protecting and supporting those parts that are healthier.

Following the nationally known prison riot at the Attica Correctional Facility in 1971 I was instrumental in evaluating and recommending major changes to the failed health system there and offered my services to implement them. When my proposal was turned down, I took a job at an OEO poverty clinic in Rochester where my lifestyle and intense commitment to do a God-sized task led me into the personal crisis that culminated in my dramatic conversion to Christ in April 1974, a conversion that reconciled my sin, stress, hopes, fears, and entire church upbringing.

After a year of discipleship, followed by brief stints in emergency and occupational medicine, I met and married my wonderful wife of 43 years. Susan and I felt called together to open a whole person Christian clinic in the heart of the inner city neighborhood where we were living. Susan became a homemaker, community builder, mother of our four children, harpist, and grandmother of our seven grandchildren. What God started in 1978 has grown from a solo practice with one staff member to a multi-provider Federally Qualified Health Center serving two poorly resourced Rochester neighborhoods with numerous providers and support staff.

Over the years I’ve delivered over 1500 babies, cared for thousands of inpatients of all ages, and probably had nearly 100,000 documented “face-to-face encounters” with patients in the office. Training medical students and residents has always been part of it, with many going on into missions at home and abroad to establish similar works in other places. We’re active in the Christian Community Health Fellowship and have overseen the development of student and practicing provider support groups in Rochester that are active at the University Medical Center and broader community, reaching the lives of hundreds over the years.

God is good, and the life He gives us is not only embedded in this fallen world but will go on into eternity beyond it. Susan and I are looking forward to being with all of you in September!

2019 Conference Announcement!

Free Methodist Healthcare Fellowship
Fall Conference

September 20-22, 2019 at the Essenhaus Inn & Conference Center (Middlebury, IN)

Theme: Serving God Throughout our Professional Lives
Speaker: Dr. Bill Morehouse

Dr. Morehouse has spoken often locally and at the Christian Community Health Fellowship National Meetings. Through his talks and discussion, we will explore Christian calling to students, residents, practicing health professionals and the issue of retirement.

Invite a student, resident, young doctor, dentist, nurse, or someone older or considering retirement.

Register by August 20th to get the best rate.

For questions about the conference, student scholarships, or childcare, please email Norm Wetterau (normwetterau@aol.com)

FMHF 2018 Conference Recap

By: Norm Wetterau, MD - FMHF President

Beautiful Seattle

The campground was beautiful and even though the 45 people there were less than we often have, there were many new faces and people to get to know. We will return to Indiana next year, but with good memories of the Northwest and we hope a few new people from the west coast will follow us to Indiana.

The speakers, Eric and Rachel McLaughlin, are both physicians at Kibuye Hope Hospital in Burundi. Their talks were more spiritual than medical. In their medical work in Burundi, things often do not go well. God makes promises, but sometimes God appears to be breaking those promises. We reach out to those who are hurting but our efforts sometimes appear futile. These were some of the themes the pair, one a family physician and one an obstetrician, shared with us.

On Friday night we looked at Abraham. Promises were made to him, yet year after year they were not fulfilled. God promised that his offspring would be as the sands of the sea, but he still had no children. Yet he had faith. Although when he died these things had not all happened, they have happened now. God was faithful. God will answer, but not always when and how we plan. Revelation 21:5 is a key verse here, “He will make all things new”. In their hospital, many will not be healed, but let’s admit that even in our most advanced hospitals, all will eventually die, but God will make all things new.

On Saturday, we looked at 4 areas: insufficiency, losing hope, never enough, and darkness. Each issue was illustrated by at least one case that they had cared for. Insufficiency: Rachael cared for a woman who was infertile. She had lost 4 pregnancies and on her fifth she ended up with a ruptured uterus, In spite of Rachel’s best efforts. She was unable to save the uterus but did save the mother. Infertility, which is a big issue in Burundi, will remain. Her efforts were insufficient. Normally, delivering babies is a happy time, and sometimes it is for Rachael, but she does not do normal deliveries nor even normal c-sections. In the US, she felt that her skills were good, but in Africa they often appeared insufficient for the cases in which she is called to intervene. In 2 Corinthians, Paul says that God’s power is made perfect through his weakness and Rachael shared how she has experienced this. As she walks with those in need, she does not need to lose heart.

Losing Hope: Eric shared a case of triplets. After over 100-days one had finally gained enough weight to be discharged. This very premature baby had gone through many trials, but after 3 months, Eric felt success. It was all worth it. 2 days later, that baby suddenly died. Can a Christian physician have despair? Is lament in the scripture the same as despair? Eric pointed out that lament and despair are two very different things. Despair is the denial of God. Lament presumes that there is a God. Job never quit praying. In spite of his suffering and feeling of extreme sadness, he still believed in God, even a God who would not give him any answers. Many of the Psalms are laments, but one needs to work through various verses and stages until at the end the psalmist can see God. Lament is part of a Christian’s life, but despair should not be.

Never enough: We work hard, we do so much, but it is never enough. There are so many patients and so many needs. We are exhausted, but maybe we could have done more. We watched a short video from Schindler’s List where Schindler kept saying: “I could have done more”. Hundreds of Jews were in the room telling him that he had done so much, but he kept repeating: “I could have done more, I could have done more”. Eric referred to a sermon given by Tim Keller (Hope for the Poor - October 4, 2009) where he agreed with Schindler, that he could have done more. The main message is that our drive to feel that we have done “enough” is often motivated by a desire to earn God’s approval. Effectively, we want God to say that we have done enough. But the gospel (and the beginning of 1 John 3) remind us that God’s love and his adoption of us as sons and daughters is never dependent on us having done enough. It is an utterly free gift of grace.  So, in the face of feeling like we have “never done enough”, we need to return to the unmerited nature of God’s love for us. The motivation for what we do is God’s love. As people we can never do enough, but God can. We need to turn our life and actions over to God.

Darkness: At times things seem very dark. The situation may be very dark and hopeless for our patients, and at times for us. Jesus is the light of the world and that light can shine in any darkness, but we also are the light. In spite of difficult situations, we are involved in and patients who appear to be in darkness, but the light is Jesus and we reflect that light as it shines through us.

So many points were brought up in the talks that one could write a book, which is indeed what Eric has done. It is in the final stages of editing and should be available within the next year. We felt privileged to hear Rachael and Eric share their stories and insight as to how God is present in the most difficult and seemly hopeless situations. We should never lose heart.

On Saturday evening we had another treat. Eric writes music and is an excellent guitar player and pianist. He sang songs he had composed around the theme such as “Man of Dust”. The words were much deeper than many contemporary Christian songs and deeply reinforced his talks. Many of these songs are on his website, so for those who could not attend, there will be the book and his songs, but even more important, Christ and his Word. Let us not lose heart!