New Zealand Nurses' Christian Union
Kai Tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, Volume XVIII, Issue 2, April 1925, Page 67
New Zealand Nurses' Christian Union
First Annual Conference, Wellington, March Bth and 9th, 1925
Our first Conference opened on Sunday. March Bth, at Wellington. II was a bright and (need I add) breezy day, and it was with great hopes we watched our friends by twos and threes wending their way up to St. Mark 's for our Special Service. The Vicar, Rev. H. Fry (a keen member of our Executive) led us m prayer and praise, following the service used by war-time chaplains. Scripture was read by Rev. Holland, of Cambridge Terrace Congregational Church, another Executive member. A most beautiful and helpful sermon was given by Rev. J. Baird (Kent Terrace Presbyterian Church) also of our Executive. The subject was "Companionship with Christ/ the text being taken from Mark ix., 2, and John i., 14. The whole address is given elsewhere m this Journal. Special hymns were sung, and we are very grateful to the organist and choir of St. Mark's for their presence and help. All present were cordially invited to afternoon tea m St. Mark's Schoolroom, where we met the visiting delegates and other friends. A rough guess placed the number present at 130. Many of them wore the deep red ribbon and bronze medallion of St. Barnabas' Guild of Nurses.
On Monday, March 9th, an early start was made to the McCarthy Home at Belmont, whore through the kindness of the Medical Superintendent and Matron of Wellington Hospital, a helpful day was spent m beautiful bush surrounding's. The visitors were entertained right royally by Sister Smith. During the morning an hour was set apart for study and discussion, Miss Constance Grant leading, on the subject of the ideals of the Nurses' Christian Union. Hut one regret clouded the day at Belmon — that duty hours prevented more nurses from joining the party. The use of Kent Terrace Church Schoolroom having been given us for the day, we had afternoon tea there, and then
gathered for a second study hour with Miss Grant. Miss Stotl entertained the party at dinner at the Nurses' Home, but the time was short, as the Annual Meeting was fixed for 7 p.m. This was held m the Kent Terrace Schoolroom, and we should like to acknowledge m passing our gratitude for the use of both halls, with light, gas, china, etc.,- — m fact, all the "comforts of home. "
The President, Dv. Wilson, welcomed, the delegates and other visitors, and then called on Rev. Baird to open the meeting with prayer. And so to business.
The Minutes of the inaugural meeting, held Feb. loth, 1924, were read and confirmed without comment. The President then outlined the work undertaken during the year. Miss Laurenson, as Travelling Secretary, had visited all the larger hospitals (28), finding m most cases considerable interest taken m the work. Subsequently 17 circles had been formed, with a financial membership of 171, including 12 scattered members. Miss Laurenson 's salary and expenses were met by .Miss Lydia Williams, of Te Ante, who has long prayed and hoped that a Nurses' Christian Union might be formed. As a token of our appreciation of her generosity and enthusiasm, the Committee asked .Miss Williams to become our Patron, but on her refusal Miss Bicknell consented to accept that office.
As a means of keeping m touch, the Executive advised Circles to use the same study-Hooks. A sub-committee was set up, which arranged for a supply from England of "St. .Mark's Life of Jesus," by Canon Robinson, which was distributed to members at cost price. The general opinion of members seems to favour this plan, and the committee would be glad of suggestions and criticisms as to books.
The President then referred to the finances of the Union, and the Treasurer submited a balance-sheet showing a credit of £74 19 3. During the year a circular
appeal had been sent out to doctors, board members and private friends m the hope of raising sufficient funds to establish a permanent travelling secretary, but the response was not as good as had been expected. The appointment of a travelling secretary is vital to the life of the Union, and the meeting urged the Executive to adopt every possible means to this end.
The meeting' then proceeded to the election of officers. The retiring comraitteee was re-elected, with the addition of Dr. Platts-Mills, Revs. Shirer and Christie, Misses Chapman, Clark, Milne, Vickers and Willoughby. Miss Graham, representing the Blenheim Circle, requested tli at Miss Macdonald act on behalf of that Circle when necessary; similarly Miss Willoughby will represent Napier. .Motions of thanks were passed to all who m so many ways contributed to the success of the Conference, particularly the Vicar of St. Mark's and Mrs. Fry, the churchwardens, organist and choir; also Rev. Baird and the managers of Kent Terrace Church ; .Miss Stott of Wellington Hospital, for hospitality and many privileges ; and other friends who kindly entertained our delegates. A special vote was passed to Miss Constance Grant for coming so far and doing so much. Those who heard her message will not forget its inspiration.
The Business .Meeting then adjourned to the large hall, where Miss Bicknell took the chair at an opening meeting, which was well attended. Our patron mentioned that only a few days before a leading doctor had said to her that the spirit of Florence Nightingale was dead; she hoped that the N.C.U. would foster that spirit and prove it as strong as ever. After opening hymns and prayers, were read St. Raid's familiar words on love — or as a modern thinker has phrased it — "the will to brotherhood."
The President gave a short address on "Ideals of Nursing/ tracing the rise of the profession from early times, and outlining the ideal of to-day. Later Miss Grant led our thoughts to a study of our Lord's attitude to the sick and helpless, and our own. With new resolves In our hearts we sang the closing hymn, "Abide with Me." At the close of the meeting, supper was handed round, and then goodbyes had to be said. We can look back on our First Conference with thankful hearts for Its success and great plans for "next time." May we take this opportunity of thanking from our hearts the delegates who travelled long distances for the Conference, and also the many friends and well-wishers who, though unable to attend m person, were with us m thought and prayer.