News and Plans — Annual Meeting report from the Administrator 2017

by George Strong, Administrator

New art graces the Fern Lodge hallway. “My Father and I,” by Anna-Zoe Dorette Herr

Our mission is to heal! Ten years ago the Fern Lodge board and staff affirmed in this mission statement that Christian Science healing is our sole purpose. All of our activities are intended to heal. Fern Lodge identifies closely with The Mother Church, which is “…designed to be built on the Rock, Christ; even the understanding and demonstration of divine Truth, Life, and Love, healing and saving the world from sin and death…” Manual, p. 19.

The work of Christian Science nurses includes giving practical assistance that springs from and demonstrates the present understanding of man as the spiritual image and likeness of God. Much of our daily work appears to be meeting physical and mental challenges with the confidence inspired by divine Truth, the assurance of divine Principle, and the tenderness of divine Love. This work is an invaluable aid in sickness, and it includes much more than appears.

We strive to overcome all claims of limitation, including any apparent lack of resources to pay for needed Christian Science nursing. Throughout its history, Fern Lodge has maintained the policy of helping individuals who need Christian Science nursing without regard for the nature of the need, the duration of time nursing is needed, or an individual’s ability to pay the cost of their care.

Looking back at the past 10 years. I thought fondly of the delightful, hard-working Christian Scientists we have served and the healings we have witnessed. If you visit Fern Lodge, you will see a board with testimonies that mention a few of these healings.

I also looked at the financial picture of those ten years. From day to day, the finances of Fern Lodge may appear irregular, uncertain, even frightening at times. However, taking a longer, more expansive view, it is clear that we have trusted, we have demonstrated, and we have experienced the ever-present harmony of Soul, the abundance of Spirit. Through those ten years our income from all sources is stable and sufficient to pay all of our costs, leaving us ready and able to accept any patient, without thinking about whether or not they have financial resources to pay the cost. Here’s what that means.

In the last ten years Fern Lodge has given a total of $6.25 million in benevolence.

Let me be perfectly clear. Fern Lodge has not had invested or saved funds on hand to give much financial assistance to patients. But you have provided! Donations, bequests and grants from individuals, branch churches, Christian Science pupils associations, and foundations have supplied all of the money needed to enable us to give over 6 million dollars in benevolence through ten years.

We are in humble awe of the gifts we have been entrusted with that enable us to care for the patients at Fern Lodge. These gifts are evidence of the most selfless, earnest, and confident philanthropy in the hearts and lives of each giver and everyone who has prayed in support of Fern Lodge.

Philanthropy is amazing!!! It is so much more than just providing funds to help others. Through the years we at Fern Lodge have lived in close touch with a brief article by Mary Baker Eddy that is a tribute to Baron and Baroness de Hirsch. An article on Clara de Hirsch notes that, “she spent most of her time in the poor districts of [a] city, and…distributed more than $125,000 among needy families, without distinction of their background.” That would be about $2.75 million today. Clearly Mrs. Eddy endorsed such giving. When a monument was to be erected to honor the de Hirsches, she contributed $500 ($11,000 today), and as so often is the case, she took the opportunity to share a much larger life lesson. She wrote about the broad accomplishments of philanthropy:

“Philanthropy is loving, ameliorative, revolutionary; it wakens lofty desires, new possibilities, achievements, and energies; it lays the axe at the root of the tree that bringeth not forth good fruit; it touches thought to spiritual issues, systematizes action, and insures success; it starts the wheels of right reason, revelation, justice, and mercy; it unselfs men and pushes on the ages.” And in the same article our Leader writes, “Love for mankind is the elevator of the human race; it demonstrates Truth and reflects divine Love” (Miscellany 287:19).

We are grateful to share some good news, for the Christian Science movement and for mankind. In 2017 the National Fund for Christian Science Nursing was established and now provides significant help to anyone who is receiving Christian Science nursing and needs financial assistance to pay the cost.  Aid is available to those who are cared for at home, and also those in Christian Science nursing facilities, such as Fern Lodge.

This scientific, Christian demonstration of kindness and care will set an example for mankind and has the potential for lifting the means and methods of funding healthcare in the country above the models we now have. We are inspired by the philanthropy of Baron de Hirsch, who said, “In relieving human suffering I never ask whether the cry of necessity comes from a being who belongs to my faith or not.”

At Fern Lodge the Fund will be helpful to many patients. It will not, however, eliminate our need for donations to maintain our benevolence policy. Individuals who previously received aid through government programs will receive a little more financial help through the Fund, but these deserving Christian Scientists still are in need of contributions to help them pay the full cost of their care.

Fern Lodge always has looked for how to bless the Christian Science community and all mankind. And through the years we continue to be spiritually focused and inspired by the practice of Christian Science, remembering, “Our Mission is to Heal.”

The Lighthouse Singers Gospel Choir contributed their inspiring harmony and their love for God and man to make our meeting a time of rejoicing!

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