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Since Redwood Community became a nonprofit in 1997, it has been an important place in the Christian Science community in Santa Rosa, CA. It was formed through the prayer and demonstration of local church members to address their needs. It was a demonstration in the spirit of the Biblical verse: “…be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren…” (I Pet 3:8). …
Since Redwood Community became a nonprofit in 1997, it has been an important place in the Christian Science community in Santa Rosa, CA. It was formed through the prayer and demonstration of local church members to address their needs. It was a demonstration in the spirit of the Biblical verse: “…be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren…” (I Pet 3:8). In the time it was open, Redwood Community not only took care of 4-5 residents, but also served as a Christian Science nursing resource for the community.
Redwood Community has been closed for the last two years. When they reached out to Fern Lodge to see if we could be of assistance in reopening Redwood Community, we were happy to so, as we recognized that this community resource should continue its activity at this time. While Fern Lodge will be assuming the administrative duties of Redwood Community, such as payroll and accounting, the two organizations will remain separate legal entities. Before reopening, it seemed like there was a wonderful opportunity to do some necessary remodeling and reorganization of the building to make nursing easier for our Christian Science nurses.
Around the same time, we were happy to welcome Jane Mercereau to our board, who served as the Administrator of Redwood Community for many years. Her knowledge of Redwood Community has proved helpful to both the board and staff. In addition, we are grateful for the work of Jan and Seth Dempsey, who have continued helping out Redwood during its inoperative time.
Our main remodeling to date has been to put in an entirely new and open kitchen space as well as remodeling two bathrooms for greater patient accessibility. We have also added a bedroom with a bathroom to create an apartment for a live-in Christian Science nurse. We have also taken the opportunity to freshen up the place with a new coat of paint and new LED light fixtures throughout the building. For safety, the wooden deck has been reinforced and a new fire alarm system put in place. Future plans include landscaping and creating a wheelchair accessible ramp into the building.
At this time we already have interest from some Christian Science nurses to work here and some patients to reside here. We will open as soon as we have enough full-time Christian Science nurses willing to staff this facility. If you are interested in learning when admission will be available or working or volunteering at this facility, please give Fern Lodge a call at 510-886-2448.
“I held my little ‘pancake’ on my chest, which was reading to me Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. When I woke up the next day, I was healed. After being bed-ridden for more than two weeks, I stood up on my feet and walked out to attend the Easter church service at Fern Lodge.…
“I held my little ‘pancake’ on my chest, which was reading to me Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. When I woke up the next day, I was healed. After being bed-ridden for more than two weeks, I stood up on my feet and walked out to attend the Easter church service at Fern Lodge. I can’t tell you how much inspiration I have gained from listening to my speaker every day. It opened a whole new world for me” —Testimony from a current patient
The “little pancake” from this patient’s testimony is what she calls Alexa, Amazon’s smart speaker, which was recently installed in every patient’s room. By using a third-party application, Fern Lodge was able to create their own playlists that play Science and Health, the weekly Bible Lesson, hymns, Daily Lift, Sentinel Watch, and other Christian Science-related talks and lectures. Patients can now listen to anything whenever they want to without any set schedule.
After taking down our old nurses’ call system, we no longer had the ability to broadcast content through pillow speakers. We know it’s important for patients at Fern Lodge to have access to Christian Science audio content in support of their healing demonstration.
“It was not an easy solution to reach,” Jamie Stock, who introduced Alexa to Fern Lodge, recalls. “ I knew I wanted the patients to have a choice as to what they listen to and when they can listen to it. At first, I had trouble finding the most cost-effective and user-friendly solution. Then, it dawned on me that a smart speaker could do all of that if I was able to upload our own content. After hours of researching, testing, and programming, we finally found a way to make it work, while maintaining privacy for each patient. Introducing such a new device to every patient and Christian Science nurse takes time and patience. But I was amazed by how open and receptive everyone was.”
What Robin, our Director of Activities, loved most about Alexa is that, instead of tuning into audio programs at certain time, patients now have the freedom to listen to whatever they feel inspired to at any time. That’s a huge blessing to those who are not able to leave their rooms to join group activities. God’s words and spiritual truth are an “ever-present help in trouble.”
“Besides Christian Science-related content, Alexa can also play all types of music, make jokes, tell the time and forecast the weather,” Jamie added. “One day, I passed by one patient’s room and heard her asking Alexa to play Frank Sinatra. As soon as the music started, her face lit up and she started to sing along. We sometimes take for granted the technology we use. For many residents at Fern Lodge, who have never used a computer in their life, being able to listen to their favorite songs really makes their day.”
In the gospel of John, there is a precious account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. The story concludes, “…after he had washed their feet…he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.…
In the gospel of John, there is a precious account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. The story concludes, “…after he had washed their feet…he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”
In gratitude for the selfless service of the Fern Lodge staff, the Fern Lodge Board of Directors came to the facility and washed each employee’s feet. It was a touching, tender, and sweet example of Love reflected in love.
by Robin Barben
Marsha Lutz is a volunteer at Fern Lodge and she says her main goal is to make people happy, to give comfort, and to make someone’s day a little better. So what drives a woman who, among many, many accolades, was a three time All-American Champion in diving, was the first female inducted in the U.C.…
by Robin Barben
Marsha Lutz is a volunteer at Fern Lodge and she says her main goal is to make people happy, to give comfort, and to make someone’s day a little better. So what drives a woman who, among many, many accolades, was a three time All-American Champion in diving, was the first female inducted in the U.C. Davis Athletic Hall of Fame, played in over 35 U.S. National Golf Championships, and was a worldwide Military racquetball champion, to volunteer twice a week for 5 1/2 years?
“I love moving, sports and activities,” Marsha says, “and I love sharing that love with others.” Marsha is the Fern Lodge champion at taking residents for walks or wheelchair rides up the hill, and she shares her love and understanding of nature along the way, and the patients always come back smiling and refreshed. She also leads a movement class at Fern Lodge, where residents rediscover that movement is natural with God, because that’s where all movement originates.
“When I first came to Fern Lodge, I wanted to find out more about Christian Science and why it was so important to my Mom. Because of Christian Science she had a wonderful life and I wanted that same kind of life. It ended up changing my life. I learned here that God really does heal. Between the reading of the Christian Science Journal and Sentinel articles, and Lectures which I read weekly to the residents here, and the prayers I received from a nurse when I had some challenges, I have seen many healings. I am growing, and learning to be a better person, One day after a nurse, a dear friend, prayed for me, I noticed on the way home that some tumors I had on my face had just vanished.”
The clarity that Kathleen, Donna, and I all saw on Marsha’s face that day (and since then) reflected a clarity that is springing up spiritually within her. It’s a softer touch, a sweeter love, a compassion and kindness, which were already there, but are finding a deeper daily expression in fulfilling the needs of others.
When I first met Marsha, I was aware of her military background, (she served in the Air Force for 13 years), and I saw how her leadership qualities were very helpful in encouraging residents to come to activities. But what I have learned lately is to appreciate her achievements in the military in a more spiritual way. Knowing that she was the first female assigned remote duty (in Turkey), the first female to command a squadron, the first female director in the Strategic Air command, and the first woman to lead air traffic control operations in the Pacific air forces, opened my eyes spiritually to the qualities she was expressing. She had demonstrated strength and excelled in a culture where women were fighting to be recognized.
Marsha often has told me, “The feeling I get when I come to Fern Lodge is ‘this place is love.’” She said, “Although I have a had a tremendously rewarding life, there is more to life than personal achievement. It didn’t make me a complete person. When I am at Fern Lodge, I feel I am contributing. Nothing is as rewarding as helping people.” That’s why we are here: to help each other, and to learn to love.
by Sharon Strong
We have been overflowing with joyous activity in classes! From February to June 2018, we taught a Level 1 class with ten Christian Science staff at Twelveacres. The administrator and an office member also attended all the classes, making it an even dozen!…
by Sharon Strong
We have been overflowing with joyous activity in classes! From February to June 2018, we taught a Level 1 class with ten Christian Science staff at Twelveacres. The administrator and an office member also attended all the classes, making it an even dozen! Metaphysical foundation-building, word research, ethics, and practicing skills together formed the basis of each class. It was rewarding to see thought change from the idea of giving care to providing Christian Science nursing care, seeing perfection right where various impositions seemed to be.
In the last twelve months, we have taught five one-month classes, each with four or five students. Two Level 1 classes were taught within weeks of each other, and one class each of Levels 2, 3, and 4. Two special classes on practical guidance for those preparing to serve or newly serving as Directors of Christian Science Nursing were taught, and one supervision class. A total of 21 students were enrolled. Fifteen students took one class, four took two classes, and two took three classes. Of the 21, eleven were from other facilities, and six of the eleven attended via Zoom. Eight are currently working at Fern Lodge.
Statistics aside, we have had the best 18 months of meeting dear Christian Scientists and training them in the skills and ethics of comforting and nursing others in Christian Science. It has been such an honor to share an expanding view of divine Love, the essence of Christian Science nursing, with these aspiring and inspiring individuals! For those participating over Zoom, we found creative ways to give workshops and speeches. For one facility’s annual meeting, we made a short video on how we worked remotely with that facility.
We are so grateful for our mentors, Mina Soriano, and our newest addition, part-time mentor Deb Messmer, who helped students transition from the classroom to the Christian Science nursing floor, and assisted with fine-tuning the qualities and adapting the skills learned and practiced in the classroom.
In the summers of 2018 and 2019, I mentored three Christian Science nurses at a camp for Christian Science children. These two-week sessions are wonderful opportunities to see many quick healings of children and staff, and they provide the added benefit of working onsite with Christian Science practitioners.
We have seen a big uptick in applications and hiring from Africa, and feel so blessed by the qualities of love and joyous, dedicated service each one brings to our healing mission. When we realized the sincere desire each one has to serve the healing Cause of Christian Science in this way, it is indeed humbling. We regularly hear of those whose hearts have been yearning to love and care for others, but the lack of payment for these services in other countries makes Christian Science nursing unavailable as a career within the Christian Science movement there.
I am so grateful for the love, nurturing, and practical wisdom bring expressed by students and staff alike.
We are happy to welcome Deborah Messmer to our staff. Deb received her Christian Science nurses training at Broadview, Inc., in Los Angeles and trained Christian Science nurses. She was also served as Co-Director of Christian Science Nursing there. She worked for Broadview for 9 years until her family moved to the St.…
We are happy to welcome Deborah Messmer to our staff. Deb received her Christian Science nurses training at Broadview, Inc., in Los Angeles and trained Christian Science nurses. She was also served as Co-Director of Christian Science Nursing there. She worked for Broadview for 9 years until her family moved to the St. Louis area in 2015 where she worked at Peace Haven Association as their full-time mentor in the Christian Science nursing education department. Her family’s desire to return to California prompted their move to Castro Valley in August and she began working here at Fern Lodge as our Assistant Director of Christian Science nursing.
One staff member asked me recently what my hopes are for Christian Science nursing. My hope is that the standard of Christianity, including love, joy, peace, support and encouragement, permeate every spot where Christian Science nursing is in action.
Mary Baker Eddy says, “Christian Science and Christianity are one” (Science and Health 372:17-18). I love that, because it turns me to the examples of Christianity in the Bible. As Christians, we love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and we know that we cannot truly love God without loving our brother, our neighbor, co-worker, grocer, mechanic, etc. (I John 4: 20-21). Christ Jesus specified that we are to love everyone.
That can take a lot of work sometimes. At one point in my career, I worked for a company where I was feeling severely judged by others and found myself frustrated with my co-workers. As a Christian Scientist I asked myself, “How can I love them?” After working to muster up a sense of human love for each one and then finding myself frustrated over and over again, I took a new approach.
There are Christian qualities that I grew up learning about in Christian Science like peace, patience, listening, love, joy, and tenderness (and others too!). Some people find these qualities easy to express toward some, but difficult to express toward others. I believe cultivating the qualities that are more difficult for us to express and striving to live them, allows us to love and heal. As I practiced naturally expressing the quality of peace every day, I found my thought was more open to what my co-workers were saying. Expressing patience helped me not react to anything negative going on around me. Love, joy, and tenderness allowed me to be gentle with the people who had previously frustrated me. All of this changed how I approached my relationship with them. What I thought were irreparably broken relationships suddenly began to heal and we were able to find more common ground and worked together better. Some even told me they appreciated my approach to my work.
Mary Baker Eddy talks about the word “learn” and illustrates the way to loving our neighbors. She says in Science and Health, “If we would open their prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted” (S&H 366:30-31). This implies that we don’t already know how to do it. Often, we think of others as the “sick” and “broken-hearted,” but I realize that it was my own feelings of hurt that made it difficult for me to love. Once I focused on my own thinking and learned how to express peaceable qualities, the situation turned around and my relationships were restored.
When I arrived at Fern Lodge I noticed and was deeply impressed with the harmony the Christian Science nurses, staff members, volunteers, and families express in working to support our patients and each another. I attribute it to the way of Fern Lodge. There is a true sense of Christianity, joy, and love expressed here and everyone associated with Fern Lodge feels it, knows it, and responds to it.
Dear Friends, We have a special story to share with you about one of our scholarship recipients, Vanessa Ramirez Jasso, and her amazing journey of personal and professional growth — with Christian Science and a clear sense of purpose pointing the way forward. MAKE AN ONLINE GIFT TODAY! Triumphing over challenges Vanessa’s journey began when […]
We have a special story to share with you about one of our scholarship recipients, Vanessa Ramirez Jasso, and her amazing journey of personal and professional growth — with Christian Science and a clear sense of purpose pointing the way forward.
Vanessa’s journey began when she moved to California from Mexico and her world seemed completely disrupted. Unfamiliar with a new culture, a new school, and a new language, she struggled to make friends and feel like she belonged.
Now, ten years later, as a recent college graduate, Vanessa speaks fluent English, was selected by her classmates to deliver a graduation address, stays in touch with a close network of friends throughout the US, and has begun her desired career in education.
She is also an active member of her branch church, where she teaches Sunday School.
Vanessa tells of her wholehearted trust in God’s plan for her and the constant flow of love and support she received from her church community— Sunday School teachers, camp counselors, church family, and friends.
“Sunday was (and still is) my favorite day of the week! Every Sunday when I came to my branch church, I felt noticed, valued, and deeply loved! When that is given to you, you can’t help but feel capable, loved, and encouraged to grow!
“Gradually, I began to do well at school, make new friends, and understand more about the truth Christian Science brings.”
Vanessa gained even more confidence in college, where she grew as a student and discovered her passion for education.
“College gave me a greater sense of purpose. I learned that I care a lot about people and I feel compelled to help others lead their way. Something I also care deeply about is seeing everyone as fully capable of surpassing any limitation or obstacle that seems to block their way. I want to show them that there is so much more they can do — the possibilities truly are unlimited!”
Now in her second year as an art teacher for an independent K–8 school for boys, Vanessa is still growing and discovering new possibilities.
“In my current job, I’ve been challenged to be a leader that pushes students to grow. What I want my kids to learn, I have to first model for them — honesty, kindness, and integrity. Daily, I rely on my values and try to apply them in a way that will bless our school community and the world.”
Due to the generosity of friends of The Albert Baker Fund (ABF), we were able to support Vanessa’s professional growth by awarding her a scholarship for each of her four years of college. “It was the extra funding I needed, and I am so grateful for ABF’s support throughout my entire college career,” says Vanessa.
You can help Christian Scientists, such as Vanessa, realize their unlimited possibilities with a gift to one of the many programs offered by The Albert Baker Fund. Your gift may be designated for educational scholarships, career networking, youth leadership and internships, or Christian Science nurses training.
And we are delighted to share that your gift will be doubled if made by December 31, 2019, or until the $10,000 match is met.
Thank you for joining with us to help fellow Christian Scientists realize their unlimited possibilities.
With much gratitude,
P.S. Act now to double your scholarship support for fellow Christian Scientists.
P.P.S. Because of you, ABF awarded scholarships to nearly 1,000 Christian Scientists last year. Thank you for your love and support of these students.
We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions about ABF or ideas to share, please contact Janee Shaw, Director of Outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.