2020 Annual Meeting
Paula Brensinger - CHRISTIAN SCIENCE NURSE
We’ve had ample opportunities to see the truth of our 2019/2020 theme: “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.” (SH 258:13-15).
My heartfelt gratitude for the support of the Service’s Board of Directors – stalwart Christian Scientists who are willing to devote their time working together to provide unique skills, life experience, and best efforts developing and maintaining the business operations and the metaphysical atmosphere for the Service’s work in the northern New England field. While we know from our experience with Christian Science healing, that with God present we are never alone in our work, the prayerful and practical teamwork of these workers is extraordinarily comforting and encouraging.
I’m also deeply grateful for the relief support from Sally Carruth, Kerry Reed, Arta Stewart, and Lelia Smith allowing me some time off. Due to the Covid related strict no-visitation policies at Tallwood, weekend outpatient support had to stop. Yet, extraordinarily, within weeks, Kerry and Arta reworked the Tallwood staff schedule so that Sally could be available to provide care to the Service’s patients in their homes.
We’ve continued to provide oversight to non-Journal-listed Christian Science nurses in situations where the patient needs help paying for a well-trained and skilled Christian Science nurse who does not have a Journal-listing. This is a requirement of The National Fund for Christian Science. It has been our pleasure to support these efforts.
We again worked with Tallwood in mentoring Christian Science nursing students training at Tenacre, This year I took two of Tenacre’s students out together on two days. It’s not typical to bring two additional Christian Science nurses to a home, but for the patients, the two students and the schedule at Tallwood House, this turned out to be exactly the right thing to do! Please know, it is the patient’s choice whether or not to have students come into their homes with me, but it is an investment in their Christian Science nursing education, and they are always gratefully expressive about their New Hampshire welcome.
We spoke last year about our consideration of the questions “What would the full expression of Christian Science nursing in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine look like? What impositions may be hiding this complete idea from view. … Everywhere I went or looked online, I heard about people all finding their way around something called Working At Home, with either great distress or great enjoyment of these changes in routine. – Well, I have been working at home, too – it just isn’t MY home! I like how our Chair, Greg Franklin referred in the Board report, to visiting Christian Science nursing as “daily home delivery of hope, love and support…” If that isn’t the best vision of curbside service ever!
In 2019, we drove 32,000 miles, made 525 patient visits totaling 685 hours of care, 1196 hours of driving and 312 hours of administrative time. That was approximately double the number of visits made in 2018. In the first half of 2020, we have already traveled 51,-000 miles, made 284 patient visits totaling 301 hours of care, 794 hours of driving time and 348 hours of administrative work. This year, we have made at least 2 visits every day and a couple times a week, we fit in a 3rd visit.
Humanly speaking, this could be summed up as, “We’ve all been run off our collective feet for months, but we know God is always in control… even when we’re wearing no socks because we forgot to do our own laundry. Again.” So, it seems the question about what impositions might be hiding the full expression of Christian Science nursing was prescient! There’s increasing talk of a “new normal,” which seems to be an inviting temptation to accept the idea that we must permanently change our ways to accommodate this “novel coronavirus”
But what has really changed? NOTHING!
God is still Father-Mother God, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, divine Love. Man is still his image and likeness, an exactly reflected expression of perfection, the tender child of his care.
Let’s just be still with that and let all the fearful uproar of global pandemic recede into the nothingness it really is. The essential, defining requirements and qualities of Christian Science nursing are permanent. We are not and cannot ever be trapped in a humanly imposed lockdown.
This global pandemic is an example of a need which is not specific to the individual patient but is generalized in the community. A proper response includes any reasonable behavior to assist in subduing the fearful imposition on the public. So, although I have no fear of catching or transmitting illness, I’m wearing a mask out in public, and in the homes of patients, and wearing gloves while giving personal care, “rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s while rendering unto God the things that are God’s.” Although in most places these recommendations do not have the force of law behind them, my perception is that the dignity and defense of our cause are best served by the kindness of quietly wearing the mask. In some sense, “the world thought” is also our patient. When the world observes us being respectful of these public health requests, we contribute to the reduction of fear and we keep Christian Science nursing practice out of the court of human opinion.
So, to reiterate – nothing has changed; call us if you need help, and our response will be inspired by that “practical wisdom necessary in a sick room…”
“…the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. “
(That’s James 3:17, and it’s the Service’s theme for 2020/2021).