Sharon Strong, Director of Christian Science Nursing Education at Fern Lodge
Over the last year, I changed roles from being the Director of Christian Science nursing to the full-time Director of Christian Science Nursing education. This reflects our enlarged vision of our education program and its broadening outreach. Our Program has a complete and well-established classroom curriculum, with courses that cover every area of Christian Science nursing with the attendant discussions on ethical thought and behavior. Following the classroom instruction, thorough mentoring and supervision is provided by our experienced nursing staff.
We find our program is well suited to individuals who have previous life experiences in caring for others, who have demonstrated a maturity in prayerfully approaching challenges, and who can progress more rapidly in completing the curriculum. We think of it more like a home-schooling model, where students are able to progress at their own pace. Currently 10 individuals are on a waiting list for this training, and several on staff have nearly completed their courses. Our latest student is here from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This January, we traveled to Peru for a week to conduct workshops on Christian Science nursing in Lima. We spoke to two groups of 20 individuals and interviewed 16 individuals at length about Christian Science nursing and opportunities to nurse in Peru and Fern Lodge. Those we spoke with came away with a better understanding of the relationship of Christian Science nursing to healing in our church, and how Christian Science nursing facilities such as Fern Lodge support that healing mission. And we were impressed with their deep dedication to Christian Science, their reverence for Mrs. Eddy, and their sincere, earnest desire to care for their fellow man.
Throughout this year we have had opportunities to share Christian Science nursing workshops in a number of local branch churches. These three-hour care workshops discuss the metaphysical basis and nature of caring for our fellow man, and we demonstrate some practical ways to assist each other, such as visiting church members at home, simple food suggestions, helping someone in church, or up off the floor, and getting in and out of a car, and the ethics involved in these situations, etc.
As we look forward to the future of our education program at Fern Lodge, we remember Mrs. Eddy’s test for all prayers: “Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking?” Our prayers for the education program include looking for new and higher ways in which to love, bless, and aid our neighbors in our community and the world. We strive to exemplify what our Leader describes (Miscellany p. 253) as the entire purpose of true education, “to make one not only know the truth but live it—to make one enjoy doing right,…make one not work in the sunshine and run away in the storm, but … wait on God, the strong deliverer, who will reward righteousness….It rejoices me to know that you know that healing the sick, soothing sorrow, brightening this lower sphere with the ways and means of the higher and everlasting harmony, brings to light the perfect original man and universe. What nobler achievement, what greater glory can nerve your endeavor? Press on! My heart and hope are with you.”
Rozanne Zwick, Director of Christian Science Nursing at Fern Lodge
It doesn’t seem possible that just over a year ago I was getting settled in my new home and new position at Fern Lodge. I’ve worked hard and put in some long hours, but I am having fun as I “grow in grace” while fulfilling the daily duties of Director of Christian Science Nursing. I’m grateful for the support of everyone at Fern Lodge and am pleased to have such a dedicated staff who reflect the divine qualities of cheerfulness, faithfulness, persistence, spiritual intuition, dedication, and conviction in the Truth!
It’s been a good year full of spiritual growth for patients and staff. We are rededicating ourselves to Fern Lodge’s mission “to heal.” We began last fall by reading the book, Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition. We spent most of our time focusing on the section “Advice for healers,” sharing ideas and fresh insights for our own healing work as Christian Science nurses and in our personal lives.
In January, our friend, Chris Williams, began facilitating a series of meetings exploring the Manual By-Law for the Christian Science nurse. Through the lens of the “perfect model” for Christian Science nursing we’ve had three of four workshops on the Manual By-law for the Christian Science nurse. During these workshops we identify impositions on our nursing practice and turn to the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s writings to find Biblical solutions.
We continue to see examples of progress as dominion in accomplishing daily activities is demonstrated by patients. Examples of this dominion range from physical healings of limited mobility to more dedicated study and application of Christian Science and overcoming mental limitations.
This past year we’ve also provided “outpatient nursing care” for individuals who were able to return to their homes after receiving nursing serves at Fern Lodge. One local church member came to Fern Lodge two days per week to participate in the morning activities. Participation in “day care” at Fern Lodge provides Christian Scientists with a sense of independence. We have delivered nursing supplies and visited church members in their homes.
We are very grateful for Christian Science practitioners. Imagine the healing support each patient receives from the Christian Science practitioner’s prayers, combined with the clear witnessing of the Christian Science nurse!
Our purpose at Fern Lodge is to heal. From our vantage point as Christian Science healers, we see evidence of the Christ at work in our patients and in our nursing practice on a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment basis.