Veterinary Christian Fellowship: a grouping of Christians within the veterinary profession
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Veterinary Christian Fellowship (VCF) is a group of Christians within the veterinary profession that brings vet nurses and students from all denominations together in their faith. It has recently established a mentoring scheme, which provides space for veterinary professionals to share mental and emotional challenges in strict confidence.
Veterinary Christian Fellowship (VCF) is simply a grouping of Christians within and around the veterinary profession. It was formed back in the 1950s, at a time when the veterinary profession was still quite small, and a majority worked in mixed practice and without recognised nursing support. The first vaccine for dogs, against distemper and produced by Burroughs Wellcome, did not appear until 1959. Since then, the profession has developed and has come to appreciate the vital role of veterinary nursing and, likewise, VCF has grown to a body of over 850 people, predominantly in the UK but with about 80 members overseas, with nurses being significant contributors to the membership. The vets, vet nurses and the students from those professions plus others from para-veterinary occupations are drawn from all denominations, or none, but each member can declare their faith in Jesus as their personal Saviour and has a desire to share Christ's love through veterinary medicine.
The Fellowship aims to bring together vet nurses and students in their faith and to support them as they integrate that faith into their professional lives. Through introductions at regional meetings or our presence at all the major veterinary conferences (BVNA, BSAVA, LVS, etc.) members can share the joys and tribulations of working in such a valued role. Discussions can be had, for instance, on the ethical dilemmas faced in practice or in the research laboratory or how the relationship between employer and employee works out in real life. A relatively new initiative is the VCF mentoring scheme which provides a space to share mental and emotional challenges in strict confidence with a trained mentor. Alongside these activities, VCF publishes a bi-monthly newsletter which contains challenging testimonies, thought-provoking articles, heart-warming stories and much, much more. An annual weekend residential conference is held each February for members and their families and friends (Figure 1). It has a mix of stimulating presentations, a group of varied seminars and plenty of time for relaxation and recuperation while the VN WhatsApp group keeps everyone in touch throughout the rest of the year.
Figure 1. Veterinary Christian Fellowship weekend 2022.
VCF looks also to be a point of contact for others within the profession who have questions about faith, the church, and God. Our training through college or university encourages us to ask questions, to seek answers, to develop understanding, to find truth. Christianity is not a religion (a set of rules and regulations) but a relationship between God and us and as such encourages those questions.
Can faith and science be reconciled? Creation or big bang? Adam and Eve or evolution?
If our God is a God of love, where is He in times of difficulty and suffering?
Was Jesus just a charismatic orator and teacher or is He the Living Son of God?
Is the Bible, a book written 2000 or more years ago, relevant to life today? Why would I want to read it and, anyway, don't all faiths lead to God?
These questions are all valid and ones which it is right to be asking. They are questions which we love to talk through and often find ourselves doing just that.Download Now