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The Trust’s Leadership Now conference is held annually for executive directors who have the responsibility of leading Christian organizations.
Leadership Now Conference 2023: The Power of the Gospel in Healing
Save the Date: November 29 – 30, 2023
In the wake of the global pandemic, our nation has remembered anew that when catastrophe strikes, it is our doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals who come to our rescue time and again. But as is all too often the case, large sectors of society have forgotten the origins of medicine flowing from our culture’s origins in the traditions rooted in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
From its inception, the Church engaged the healing arts not least because its founder, Jesus of Nazareth, healed the sick during his ministry (cf. Matt. 9; 10:8; 25:34-36). The early Church not only endorsed medicine, but also championed care for those infirmed or dying.
As a means of caring for those who were ill, St. Basil of Caesarea founded one of the first hospitals (c. 369). Christian hospitals grew apace, spreading throughout both the East and the West. By the mid- 1500s there were 37,000 Benedictine monasteries alone that cared for the sick.
Furthermore, as Charles Rosenberg shows in his volume The Care of Strangers, The Rise of America’s Hospital System, the modern hospital owes its origins to Judeo-Christian compassion. Evidence of the vast expansion of faith-based hospitals is seen in the legacy of their names: St. Vincent’s, St. Luke’s, Mt. Sinai, Presbyterian, Mercy, Providence, and Adventist. These were all charitable hospitals, some of which began as foundling hospitals to care for abandoned children.
Similarly, in Europe, great hospitals were built under the auspices of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Indeed, an ancient French term for hospital is hôtel-Dieu (“hostel of God”). In 1863, the Société Genevoise d’Utilité Publique called on Swiss Christian businessman Jean Henri Dunant to form a relief organization for caring for wartime wounded. Thus, the emblem of the Red Cross was codified in the Geneva Convention one year later. In Britain, Dame Cicely Saunders founded the hospice movement by establishing St. Christopher’s Hospice in the south of London in 1967.
For this year’s Leadership Now, we will be considering the Gospel’s legacy in society in caring for our embodied human selves and how the legatees of Christ’s peoples have changed the world through charity, healing, medicine, and other social services through time.
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