Louisville Medicine Volume 63, Issue 9 - Page 21

After dinner, it came time for the centerpiece of the evening. Guests gathered in the living room and cracked open their Bibles to discuss the passage of the evening from 1 Peter. Much of the discussion centered on ideas in the text related to living out a Christian life in the face of outside pressures and showing love to others. Conversation was lively, with a diverse mix of points of view from the older and younger in attendance combining to offer new perspective in a collegial setting. The study concluded with a time of prayer, as students prayed together for one another and fellow classmates. This week, the discussion was led by Chris Byrley, an associate pastor in Louisville and a PhD student at the Baptist Seminary. Byrley serves as an associate director for CMDA and is a son-in-law to Dr. Hoagland. He’s been with the organization for several years and rotates leading the discussions with other senior members. “Students have told me that our weekly Bible studies and other meetings have been a breath of fresh air for them, surrounded by the pressures and anxieties of medical and dental school,” Byrley said. “It’s a joy to see young people thrive in a community like ours.” The Louisville CMDA has been going strong for more than 40 years, and has always focused on ways to reach medical and dental students who are looking for a Christian community whose members understand the special pressures of learning and of practicing medicine. The welcoming environment on display that Monday night holds a fixed and happy place in this community. It has been a part of medical and dental students’ lives for more than six years as Dr. Hoagland has welcomed physicians, residents and students into his home to celebrate the word of God and strengthen the commitments that lend support during the most difficult of days. Dr. Tom and Marcia Benninger also host the Bible studies in their home when the Hoaglands are unable. pect, KY, where he and his family attend. He has been a member of CMDA for more than 20 years and has long served on the 12 person physician and dentist CMDA council with Dr. Larson. These health care professionals are two of the many who have been instrumental in guiding CMDA and helping it grow to reach more Christian students and to provide programs for doctors in practice. Today, there are nearly 100 medical and dental students involved in CMDA ministry and a dozen more veteran physicians and dentists. In addition to Monday Bible studies, CMDA also hosts a noon luncheon on Wednesdays at the U of L School of Medicine campus. Each week features a guest speaker specializing in faith, dentistry or medicine. While some students participate in both events, the Wednesday luncheon is usually attended by a different group of students due to class schedules. The topics include subjects such as ethics, mission trips, practice management and the witness of the Christian doctor. Professionals’ Dinners are another part of CMDA’s ministry and take place three to four times annually with up to 100 CMDA guests gathering for an evening of fellowship, sharing and learning. “We always have an inspiring speaker with a message that is meaningful to students, doctors and their spouses,” Dr. Larson said. “I think the doctor members of CMDA appreciate the opportunities to discuss practice and faith issues with other physicians and dentists who have a similar set of values. It’s a great resource.” A very popular topic at these dinners over the last three years has been on mental illness and the relevance of the Christian faith. Dr. Brian Briscoe, a psychiatrist and council member, has taken (continued on page 20) A great crowd at Monday's Bible study. “At the beginning of the Bible studies, we had seven to 10 committed students,” Dr. Hoagland recalled. “Now, we have between 25 and 35 on average. The split is pretty equal between medical and dental as well, which was not the case early on.” Dr. Hoagland is a general surgeon who spent 27 years in private practice before recently stepping away to pursue theological studies and participate more fully at Throne of Grace Community Church in ProsFEBRUARY 2016 19