FOOTREST A COMMUNITY FOOT CLINIC AT ATAWHAI-HIRA PARISH, NELSON
My desire is to love God with all my heart soul and mind. To acknowledge the authority of God, and to show his unconditional love to others. Jesus said "love one another as I have loved you" John 13:34. It is through my love for God and my Faith Community Nursing role that the foot clinic at St Peters came about.
HOW DID THE FOOT CLINIC START
The Footrest clinic at St Peters Atawhai church has been running since June of 2013. The seed was sown when I was interviewed for the role of Faith Community Nurse (FCN). I remember thinking after that meeting; ‘Lord I am not sure if I want to cut nails’, however God had other ideas. (Not your will be done, but Mine declares the Lord).
After I was appointed to the role of FCN, a parishioner mentioned to me that we had a few elderly people in the parish who could not cut their toenails and were lonely as well - what did I think of the idea of setting up a foot clinic. This lady and I prayed about this concept. We talked to different members of the congregation to get their ideas; I went to Christchurch, to observe how another FCN run foot clinic operated. The idea for a foot clinic would not leave us. As we read Jeremiah 29:11 “for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to give you a hope and future”. It became clear that God’s plan for my role as a FCN was to set up a foot clinic.
After six months of seeking God and an amazing peace, we took a leap of faith and started our clinic with one client, four volunteers, some foot spas and towels. We had appointment cards and aprons embroidered with Footrest made for us. A podiatrist gave training in nail cutting. One of the volunteers came up with the name Footrest. After that, we trusted God completely.
WHAT IS FOOTREST
This foot clinic is co-ordinated by me, the FCN; I organize and run the monthly clinic together with a team of amazing volunteers from the church.
“Jane encouraged us with both the practical and spiritual aspects of this ministry; she also supported many clients outside the foot clinic.” Frances, one of the volunteers.
One of the volunteers is responsible for appointments and phoning people to remind them of their appointment. This person also welcomes people each month. Another volunteer is responsible for transport, another is responsible for afternoon tea. All the volunteers who cut toenails have had training from a podiatrist. We always open and close in prayer. Prayer is a vital part of the ministry. We all help in the setting and cleaning up afterwards.
We started in a small room in the church but over time have had to move to a larger room as our numbers went up to thirty. Our volunteers have regular updates about nail cutting.
A Footrest health and safety policy was developed, as were guidelines for different aspects of Footrest. We have developed strict infection control procedures to clean the equipment. We do not cut toenails of those with diabetes, but have encouraged them to come for a massage or a time of fellowship. We have refined and changed the way we do things as we have learned more.
WHAT HAPPENS AT FOOTREST?
Footrest is a God given ministry that reaches out into the wider community. Through Footrest lives have been touched and God has always provided enough helpers every month and meets our every need. (Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all of your heart)
At the monthly clinic clients arrive and are welcomed by our administrator who always has a lovely smile. We then massage client’s feet in a foot spa for 10 minutes. Toenails are cut and the lower legs are massaged. We check the whole of the client’s lower leg and make referrals as appropriate. This is in fact very biblical and is a way of showing God’s love to others. A cup of tea is provided afterwards, and a time of fellowship is involved. Prayer is available if the person would like prayer. Over the years, I have noticed that people come more for the fellowship than the toenail cutting service. A koha is requested, this has supported all our costs and equipment. We have donated money to charity and vestry.
WHO ARE THE CLIENTS
40% of our clients are from the church and the other 60% come from the community. All are elderly. Footrest has spread by word of mouth.
COMMENTS THAT I HAVE HEARD ABOUT FOOTREST
‘My feet feel like heaven’, ‘I cannot get down to cut my own toenails anymore, you girls are wonderful, thank you for the prayers, I love coming here’. ‘My feet feel great’. ‘What would we do without Footrest?’ ‘My feet feel delicious’. ‘This is the highlight of the month FOR ME’. ‘My prayers were answered’. ‘It is like a party every time we are here’. ‘This is bliss’. Sometimes people just do not want to go home. Two women who live alone met at Footrest and became good friends.
WHAT COMMITMENT IS NEEDED FROM THE CHURCH /VOLUNTEERS
The church fully supports this clinic and its volunteers. For the volunteers this has to be a calling from God and a commitment of 3-4 hours a month. Without commitment from the church and volunteers, Footrest could not take place.
Three years ago, the St John ambulance shuttle brought a client to Footrest, while the shuttle staff waited for her and we gave them a cup of tea and a time of fellowship. Three years later one of the drivers remembered our clinic when his wife needed her toenails cut; through a serious of phone calls he contacted us, and his wife became one of our clients. They both enjoyed being cared and prayed for.
AN AMAZING JOURNEY
Each month I have had to give Footrest entirely over to the Lord. I give thanks for the privilege of being God’s instrument to bring about Footrest. I have seen so many people blessed through Footrest. I have learnt to trust God totally and have seen many prayers answered. Footrest reaches out beyond the wall of the church into the community and is a God given ministry that touches the lives of so many.
I must acknowledge that without God; the amazing volunteers and our wonderful clients Footrest would not be what it is today.
Jane Wulff RCN BA MA PG cert. Professional Supervision.
Jane has been involved with FCN since 2005; she has worked as a FCN in the Atawhai- Hira Parish from 2012 - 2021 and prior to that as a FCN at Nelson Cathedral.