The atmosphere was charged with expectancy on Friday evening, February 24, when some four hundred physicians, dentists, nurses, and ministers, with their companions, gathered at Asilomar, near Monterey, California, to spend two days together in the interests of medical evangelism. The surroundings and the delightful scenery gave to the gathering a setting that enhanced the entire convention.
Called by the Central California Conference officers, this experimental meeting of medical personnel and ministers proved from first to last to be a thrilling success. The warm friendliness of the group and the down-to-earth approach to problems of mutual interest lent to the overall experience an inspiration not soon to be forgotten. Contributions made by General Conference personnel and by Pacific Union leadership all added up to creating within the heart of both physician and minister a greater determination to join hands and hearts in the finishing of the work of God. Further contributions by able medical staff members of the College of Medical Evangelists added much to the benefits of the gathering.
The general theme of the medical-ministerial meeting might be summed up as "The Physician-Minister Team." Sermons preached respectively by C. L. Bauer, president of the Pacific Union Conference, and L. K. Dickson, vice-president of the General Conference, on Friday night and Sabbath morning stressed the great need of a return to primitive godliness on the part of the ministry and medical workers among Seventh-day Adventists. T. R. Flaiz, M.D., secretary of the General Conference Medical Department, stirred us with his reports of medical evangelism around the world. We were reminded of the fact that mission doors are closing to foreign personnel and of the need of trained indigent medical workers to carry on in the closing work around the world.
Two panels composed of both physicians and ministers centered attention on what the medical-evangelistic team can do to give impetus to the finishing of God's work. J. Wayne McFarland, M.D., and Carl Sundin moderated one panel each. Physicians told of how they worked to win souls for Christ in their practice of medicine. They described their witness for God in the giving of Bible studies, personal counsel to patients, and prayer with and for those to whom they minister. They further described their use of gospel literature in medical evangelism. Local conference ministers complemented these panel reports, indicating how the pastor and the physician may and do work together to lead men to Christ.
Reports from G. T. Anderson, president of the College of Medical Evangelists, concerning the work of the college were followed by two films prepared by CME facilities illustrating developments and offerings of the school. Gerald Mitchell, D.D.S., summarized the development of the dental school from dream to reality, indicating something of the prospects for the training of dentists and dental hygiene assistants to become part of the medical-evangelist team of the church.
Outstanding assistance and counsel were given by Mervyn Hardinge, M.D., and U. D. Register, Ph.D., in the field of nutrition. C. S. Small, M.D., joined most effectively in the panel discussions, along with other members from the CME staff. The audience joined in the panels, with questions from the floor, which added materially to the interest of the meeting.
"This is a forward step in advancing the work of God," was the repeated comment as the meeting drew to a close. "Let us meet again next year," was the plea and sentiment of the entire group. All felt that the meeting's contribution to a better understanding between minister and physician, dentist, and nurse was obvious. We anticipate real teamwork between the spiritual leaders and the medical profession after so stimulating a period together.