For 70 years, God has blessed Nurses Christian Fellowship with a wonderful heritage of nurses who followed Jesus Christ and made a difference in our profession. Their legacy lives on and affects our lives today.
One of these nurses, Mary Kay Sauder, died in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on January 26, 2018 at the age of 87. We celebrate her life and thank God for her devoted partnership in ministry.
Mary Kay was in the first graduating class of Goshen College School of Nursing and earned a master’s degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University. She had a variety of nursing positions, culminating with being assistant director of nursing at Lancaster General Hospital before retiring to care for her aging parents.
Here are examples of the influence of Mary Kay’s life that can inspire us today:
- Mary Kay Sauder’s care for people and wisdom from the Lord touched the lives of countless patients, families, students, health care staff, as well as NCF staff and volunteer leaders. Her life exuded the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and faithfulness. Being in her presence reminded us of Jesus Christ and his gracious ministry among people.
Inspiration: Think about the heritage you are currently building through your ministry in nursing. As we serve the Lord, he alone knows the long-term effects in nursing and health care through the influence of students and nurses who follow Jesus!
- Mary Kay was a strategic partner in NCF ministry through NCF Advisory Committees nationally and regionally (Mid-Atlantic). She collaborated with former NCF Resources Director and author Judy Shelly, and other colleagues, to spearhead books that have continued to influence others: Spiritual Needs of Children, Spiritual Dimensions of Mental Health, Values in Conflict and Theology of Nursing, as well as Journal of Christian Nursing. The Mid-Atlantic Committee also orchestrated the 1988 NCF International Quadrennial Conference and held a conference on Health Care Reform at ANA Headquarters in Washington D.C. They also encouraged NCF to begin national membership which has 1,500 professional members today.
Inspiration: The current community of NCF Members and staff have many opportunities before us as we continue the example of people like Mary Kay. Through our partnerships locally, nationally and globally we can encourage Christian influence at this moment in nursing’s history. Visit the NCF website to learn more about resources, events and locating groups in your area. Join NCF and integrate your faith and practice by becoming a national member.
- Mary Kay’s generosity in financial support also is an example to us. Her partnership of prayer and financial support has deeply encouraged NCF staff and has made it possible to provide resources that you and other nurses and students are using today. Her estate legacy will continue her ministry influence after her death.
Inspiration: NCF ministry is funded by donations. Every staff person raises personal support. Your financial gifts to NCF, whatever the amount, are deeply appreciated. Your prayer and financial support creates more opportunities for God’s life-altering work among nurses and students.
As a ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, NCF can also serve you through InterVarsity Estate & Gift Planning resources as you prepare your will. Have you already included a gift to InterVarsity for NCF in your will? Please let us know by completing the form on our website: Confidential Estate Gift Declaration. Your gift to the NCF Legacy Fund will assure our future in helping students, nurses and educators to practice from a biblically-based, Christian perspective. This will make a difference for the future of nursing!
God has blessed NCF with a wonderful heritage of nurses who faithfully followed Jesus Christ and made a difference in our profession. God has also blessed NCF with people like you who can carry on this legacy. We thank God for nurses who represent Jesus through their actions and words, partner with others in a Christian nursing community, and provide financial resources for NCF ministry to continue in the future.
Praise be to God!
Mary Thompson, RN, MSN, FCN
Former Director of Nurses Christian Fellowship
Mary Kay Sauder
Mary Kay was an inspiring nurse and mentor. I also counted her as a friend. She was instrumental in hiring me in my first job at Lancaster General Hospital. She was very excited when we founded an NCF graduate group in Lancaster, pa in 1988 and we are still meeting monthly. I had the joy of travelling together to numerous mid Atlantic meetings and retreats. She was a great encourager. I miss her but she is in the presence of her dear Jesus.
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