What does membership in The Mother Church mean to us? was the question our staff gathered to discuss in a “think shop” facilitated by Christine Williams of Houston, TX. This was one in a series of workshops focusing on the bylaw, “Christian Science Nurse,” found on page 49 in the Church Manual. The bylaw is addressed to “a member of The Mother Church.” Church membership requires that one “loves Christian Science,” is “Christianly qualified,” and “can enter into full fellowship with the Tenets and Rules” of the Church. Members also are required to “read understandingly the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” and other works by Mary Baker Eddy.
The staff found fresh perspectives on fellowship and community in these discussions. Since Christian Science nurses at Fern Lodge are members of The Mother Church, we thought together about what that means. We recognized that we have to watch and pray to put into daily practice our love of Christian Science. Our love is shown in constant expectation that healing is the natural result of Christian Science prayer and treatment. We give evidence of our Christian qualification in the tender, practical, spiritually-focused Christian Science nursing we provide.
In considering what it means to “enter into full fellowship with the Tenets” and how these Tenets apply to our work, we affirmed that fellowship is an important aspect of community membership. We identified Bible stories that depicted the challenges and rewards of membership in the communities in which Bible characters lived.
The goal of the workshop series is to expand thought to new realizations about the nursing work we do daily at Fern Lodge. Over the next months, we will host workshops to consider the standards set in that bylaw, “Christian Science Nurse.”