By Sharon Strong
Director of CS Nursing
One hundred years ago, the discipline and standards for Christian Science nurses was made a permanent part of the Mother Church ministry when Mary Baker Eddy included in the Church Manual the bylaw, “Christian Science Nurse.” The Manual bylaw requires Christian Science nurses to build their practice on “the Rock, Christ; even the understanding and demonstration of divine Truth, Life, and Love, healing and saving the world from sin and death” (see Manual 19:1). Christian Science nurses do their most effective work when they keep the divine purpose of Christian Science in thought and adhere closely to the Scriptures.
Our purpose is to heal! Christian Science nurses daily witness the healing power of Christian Science. Their work is akin to Nehemiah’s–rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. They guard the sickroom from the “oppression and tyranny” of “mortal belief and knowledge obtained from the five corporeal senses” (S&H 589). They defend and uphold the building of New Jerusalem in thought, — the “spiritual facts and harmony of the universe; the kingdom of heaven, or reign of harmony” (S&H 592). Nehemiah directed his whole energies to his task, despite the suggestions of lack or fear, or the mesmerism and opposition personified by Sanballat and Tobiah. In the same way, Christian Science nurses are devoted to reaffirming the kingdom of heaven. They work with one hand and hold a weapon –“the sword of Science with which Truth decapitates error, materiality giving place to man’s higher individuality and destiny” (S&H 266) — in the other hand (Neh 4:17). The affirming of the spiritual facts of man’s true nature and being has resulted in home-healing and oneness with God for patients. Here are a few healings from the past year:
A patient suddenly became very ill, losing all strength and interest in life. She seemed to be slipping away. We called her practitioner. Her nurse that day was alert to the aggressive mental suggestions hinting that death was inevitable, that this woman already had lived a long life, etc. The nurse’s steadfast cherishing of the perfect man of God’s creating while giving the appropriate care proved a turning point in the case. The patient suddenly opened her eyes, began eating, and a week later began walking again. Shortly after another patient arrived, she experienced a sudden sense of confusion and was unable to say the words she was thinking. This was very frightening and frustrating to her. A practitioner was called, and the next day there was absolutely no evidence of that condition. An out-of-town visitor fell and severely injured his upper arm and shoulder. He couldn’t move them without extreme pain. After several weeks of Christian Science treatment and practical assistance with daily needs, he went home, using both arms freely. This man is now working as a Christian Science nurse!
Our Christian Science Nursing Education Program is active! A well-established class room curriculum, with thorough on-job mentoring and supervision by experienced Christian Science nursing instructors, is available. This unique program offers flexible class schedules to meet individual student needs. Christian Scientists who live some distance from Fern Lodge have been able to receive substantial nursing instruction in their own home area. We offer bilingual instruction for Spanish speaking students. Our “Christian Science Nursing I” text has been translated into Spanish, and soon we will translate the advanced curriculum. Students in our nursing program need housing. If you know of a place convenient to Fern Lodge where a nurse could rent a room, please be in touch with us.
We provide in-patient care and out-patient care; adult day care; consultation on needs; supplies to home cases; and home visits in the East Bay, including assistance to families with newborns. We often receive calls from Christian Scientists struggling with mental difficulties, such as claims of bipolar, confusion, dementia, and more. These individuals currently can receive only medical help, — taking medication and being placed in medical facilities. Our church should be able to address this aspect of care, and we’d love to hear your ideas about how to meet these needs. We long to care for all who would be helped by Christian Science nursing.