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Woman's faith turns into her calling

November 24, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- From an early age, Regina Beard prepared for a career in nursing, and she was content with her decision. But several years ago, she had an epiphany of sorts that sent her in a new direction.

After two years as the Medicare nurse at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro, Beard took the chaplain position there in 2005. Faced with a decision to continue with nursing or to go into the ministry, Beard decided she could do both.

"I hadn't spent more than 20 years of my life as a geriatric nurse to give it up," Beard, 53, said.

Her nursing career began with courses at the former Career Studies Center in Hagerstown, where she became a licensed practical nurse. In 1983, she earned her associate degree in nursing from Hagerstown Junior College.

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"I worked in hospitals and nursing homes for a number of years," Beard said.

In 2007, she resumed her education at Shepherd University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in nursing.

For a time, Beard taught at Hagerstown Junior College and was coordinator of the CPR Community Training Center.

She also was health care coordinator at a number of assisted living/nursing homes.

"My faith was always a part of my work, but my calling was nursing," Beard said.

While at Reeders, Beard took a clinical pastoral education program that includes intense chaplain training.

"That really opened the door for me," she said of her decision to change careers.

With the support of her home congregation -- St. Mark's Lutheran Church at 601 Washington Ave. in Hagerstown -- Beard entered the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa., in 2007. She plans to complete her master of divinity degree in 2011.

To help her on her quest, St. Mark's awarded her a $4,500 scholarship toward her studies.

Beard is serving an internship in Franklin, W.Va., where she is working with six churches. The time and distance from Hagerstown means she is able to return home only a day or two a week.

Regina and Conrad "Ed" Beard have been married 34 years and have a 23-year-old daughter.

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