The ministry of Christian Science nursing
Christian Science nursing facilities or houses* provide a sanctuary where an individual's desire to rely solely on Christian Science for healing is supported by the spiritual reassurance and practical care given by Christian Science nurses.
These organizations offer 24-hour skilled Christian Science nursing care. They may also offer:
- "Outpatient" care for those in need of a single visit, or requiring brief daily attention, such as changing a bandage.
- "Home visits" for those whose needs can be met within two or three hours.
- "Rest and study" or "Spiritual renewal" rooms for those who desire a haven for prayer and study but do not have Christian Science nursing needs.
- "Respite care" for short-term assistance at the facility, so that family members and caregivers looking after loved ones are temporarily relieved of responsibility for care.
These organizations are not directly affiliated with The Mother Church. They are not-for-profit, independent organizations and set their own fees for payment.
*Facilities are referred to as "houses" in Europe and Canada.
Resources for financial assistance
Benevolence and funds that provide financial assistance vary from country to country. Please check with the clerk of a branch church or Reading Room near you to find out what is available in your area.
- In the United States some insurance companies cover Christian Science nursing costs, and if a patient is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, reimbursement for some expenses is available at participating facilities. Check the facility’s website for more information.
- The “National Fund for Christian Science Nursing” provides assistance in the United States. More information is available at their website: nfcsn.org
- In the United Kingdom, "The Aid Fund for Christian Scientists in Need of Nursing Care" provides grants covering Christian Science nursing in facilities and homes. More information is available at their website: csaidfund.org.uk
- Facilities may offer partial benevolence, or be able to share information about available resources to those patients who qualify. Contact facilities directly with specific questions.
Updated November 2018
Christian Science nursing is grounded in the Bible-based theology of Christian Science, which includes Christ Jesus’ commandment to love one another (see John 15:12). This practical care is carried out with prayer, wisdom and skill, supporting the patient’s decision to rely on Christian Science for healing, which includes treatment by prayer, generally from a Journal-listed Christian Science practitioner.
The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, established the authority and standard for the Christian Science nurse in 1908, in the Manual of The Mother Church (Page 49, Article Vlll; Section 31):
Christian Science Nurse. SECT 31. A member of The Mother Church who represents himself or herself as a Christian Science nurse shall be one who has a demonstrable knowledge of Christian Science practice, who thoroughly understands the practical wisdom necessary in a sick room, and who can take proper care of the sick.
The cards of such persons may be inserted in The Christian Science Journal under rules established by the publishers.
Individuals advertising in The Christian Science Journal and The Herald of Christian Science have presented satisfactory evidence that they fulfill the requirements in this By-Law.
This Scope of Services is intended to clarify for patients and other interested persons what they may expect when engaging the services of a Christian Science nurse. It touches briefly on the main aspects of, and ethical considerations related to, those services.
Christian Science nursing care includes:
- Accepting a case with the expectancy of complete and quick healing;
- Giving care that is consistent with the theology and ethics of Christian Science;
- Loving reassurance of God's tender care, ever-presence, and omnipotence; faithfully and consistently acknowledging each individual’s spiritual perfection;
- Christian encouragement of a patient's appropriate expression of activity and vitality;
- Reading to or with an individual from the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and other writings by Mary Baker Eddy, and additional literature published by The Christian Science Publishing Society;
- Communication: maintaining an ethical, moral, and loving manner in all communications with the patient, family, friends, Christian Science practitioner, and others; observing ethical and legal requirements with regard to private information about the patient;
- Surroundings: maintaining an atmosphere that is conducive to spiritual healing and supportive of harmonious care;
- Personal care and bathing: assisting with all necessary care to meet the needs of cleanliness and comfort;
- Mobility: assisting with mobility including assisting with standing, walking, moving, and settling with or without mobility aids or comfort items;
- Nourishment: preparing and modifying food; assisting with feeding; giving appropriate encouragement to eat;
- Cleansing/bandaging: cleansing, covering and bandaging, to provide for cleanliness, protection, support, and comfort;
- Instructing the patient or others in providing care for meeting individual needs;
- Being obedient to the laws of the Iand.
Christian Science nursing care does not include:
- Making a medical diagnosis or prognosis;
- Assuming responsibility for making healthcare decisions for the patient;
- Administering medication, drugs, or using medicated, herbal, or vitamin-based products and remedies;
- Using and administering medically oriented techniques or technology; including, but not limited to, administering food or liquids with medical equipment, e.g.— intravenous feeding;
- Manipulation, massage, physical therapy
- Assuming responsibility for a patient's financial or household business transactions;
- Intruding on the private relationship between the patient and the Christian Science practitioner, or between the patient and his or her family;
- Giving personal advice and counsel.
Fundamental to the ministry of a Christian Science nurse is active, prayerful affirmation of everyone's innate spirituality and responsiveness to God's harmonious government. This spiritual witnessing undergirds each aspect of the care a Christian Science nurse renders.
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Christian Science nursing facilities and houses offer a wide range of educational programs and learning styles. Many offer classes onsite in conjunction with side-by-side mentoring. Offerings may include:
- A complete schedule of classes supplemented by side-by-side mentoring.
- Beginning classes only, referring students elsewhere for further coursework.
- Side-by-side mentoring and instruction as an alternative to classes.
- Creative and flexible class schedules to accommodate individual and family needs.
Some Journal-listed Christian Science nurses may be available as independent mentors, sharing the ethics, skills, and application of Christian Science nursing principles one-on-one. There is no comprehensive registry of such mentors, but qualified Christian Science nurses may be located geographically by consulting The Christian Science Journal Directory.
Interested parties should contact Christian Science nurses and Christian Science nursing organizations directly for information about their particular programs. The Mother Church does not train Christian Science nurses and the Christian Science nursing facilities and houses that offer training are not directly affiliated with The Mother Church.
Christian Science nurses may apply to advertise in The Christian Science Journal. The requirements for advertising are:
- Membership in The Mother Church.
- Primary class instruction with an authorized teacher of Christian Science.
- A demonstrated practice of Christian Science in one's own life, based on deep study of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
- Thorough preparation in ethics and a wide range of Christian Science nursing skills to care for patients, including: assisting with mobility, care in bed, cleansing and bandaging wounds, preparation and modification of nourishment.
- Substantial practical experience in caring for a variety of patients.
- References from experienced Christian Science nurses who can attest to your Christian Science nursing work.
- Demonstrated readiness and availability to respond to calls day or night in a variety of settings such as Christian Science nursing facilities, homes, camps, and schools.
- An interview with the Christian Science Publishing Society regarding the standards for an advertiser.
Guidance for establishing a Christian Science nursing practice
Mary Baker Eddy's writings give you the best guidance for your own prayers and study in establishing a Christian Science nursing practice. We encourage your particular consideration of the following:
- Christian Science Nurse (Manual, Art. Vlll, Sect. 31)
- Confidentiality (Manual, Art. Vlll, Sect. 22)
- Quick and whole healing (Manual, Art. XXX, Sect. 7)
- Alertness to Duty (Manual, Art. Vlll, Sect. 6)
- Choice of patients (Manual, Art. XXVII, Sect. 4)
- Aids in sickness (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pg. 395)
Advertising your services to the public, will require you to have:
- an understanding of the prayerful, ethical and practical aspects for accepting cases
- experience in making decisions and providing care in a home environment
- a confidential means by which a patient can request your assistance
- professional charges and billing system
- confidence in communicating with family/public, etc.
Of utmost importance is your receptivity to Truth and Love and your readiness to demonstrate the whole By-Law for the Christian Science nurse. "As Christian Scientists you seek to define God to your own consciousness by feeling and applying the nature and practical possibilities of divine Love: to gain the absolute and supreme certainty that Christianity is now what Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated - health, holiness, immortality." (Mary Baker Eddy, Message for 1901, pg.1)
If you have questions about the application please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like anyone else who has witnessed or been a part of a healing through Christian Science, we rejoice whenever we hear about someone who is interested in joining with those engaged in supporting others in this vital work. Nothing is more needed in our world today than the powerful, practical healing that Christian Science offers. Becoming a Journal-listed Christian Science nurse adds your name to the ranks of those whose devotion to God and commitment to healing overflows in inspired, practical acts of caring. The world needs and feels the transforming power of this Christly love!
We're here to support you every step of the way as you respond to this calling of the Christ. We cherish your willingness to let the love of the Comforter find tangible expression in your Christian Science nursing ministry. The application process has less to do with filling out a form, and so much more about a "preparation of the heart".
Speaking to each one of us, Mary Baker Eddy writes: "I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. ... Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power." (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 250). Thank you for your daily prayer to be an active witness to the power and presence of divine Love, and for the steps this prayer has led you to take to be prepared for advertising in The Christian Science Journal.
We look forward to hearing from you and learning more about how you've prepared for this important next step.
You will find the application form below, which you can easily fill out online and submit. You will be contacted during the review process of the application, but you’re welcome to be in touch with us at any time (see email address below).
Christian Science Nursing Activities
210 Massachusetts Ave P07-10
Boston MA 02115