2017 International Christian Science Nursing Conference – attended by 2 Christian Science nurses from Charton Manor and the VCSNS, London Field
Cedars Camp, Lebanon, Missouri, September 6th-10th, 2017
Over ninety Christian Science nurses from four nations (USA, Canada, UK, Switzerland) attended the conference. The family-run camp is constructed on a lovely rural site. The accommodation comprised mostly log cabins. Six Christian Science nurses attended from the UK, with each of the three Christian Science nursing facilities represented.
The theme of the conference was: “One By-Law, One Christian Science Nurse.” The conference explored the by-law for the Christian Science nurse in the Manual of The Mother Church in some depth. Caroleen Scholet gave the opening talk, entitled, “Touchstones of an Authentic Practice.” Bonnie Castroman gave the report on her work as manager of Christian Science Nursing Activities at The Mother Church.
During workshop sessions, we broke into small groups to discuss specific aspects of Christian Science nursing. During the session, “What does proper care look like?” we were given a hypothetical CSNC case to discuss and were invited to share ideas on what would constitute “proper care” in this case.
Managers of twelve VCSNS organisations held a two-hour open forum which was helpful and instructive. Topics discussed included: overcoming resistance from church members to calling on a Christian Science nurse; moral and ethical issues; the need for clarity with regard to reliance on Christian Science for treatment; how to withdraw from a case with dignity and respect for all.
The open-air chapel, constructed on the side of a hill, making it a natural amphitheatre was the venue for the Wednesday evening testimony meeting, keynote address and a concert.
One of the most inspiring talks at the conference was Dr. Barry Huff on “Biblical Models of Caring with Divine Authority.” This provided a clear analysis of the Scriptural foundation for Christian Science nursing. The whole experience was most inspiring, the Bible workshops particularly helpful and the interaction with other Christian Science nurses worthwhile and enjoyable. Desiree Goyette conducted a workshop on hymns from the new Christian Science Hymnal Supplement. On Saturday evening we enjoyed an excellent concert by Andrew James, a composer and musician from Los Angeles.
The conference provided clear evidence of the guidance and inspiration found in the Manual by-law for the Christian Science nurse. A genuine sense of unity and shared commitment was expressed by participants throughout the conference. It really was a great boost. The next CSNN conference will take place in 2019.