Christian Science practitioners Lois Carlson and Elizabeth Kellogg share healing ideas for anyone cherishing a greater sense of compassion among church members.
Your questions—your Church community’s answers. Each week, we’ll feature a new question from the Field, with responses from two experienced spiritual thinkers to kick off the discussion. Next, it’s your turn to help bring new insights, ideas, and solutions to light by posting a comment or participating in our discussion forums.
Two practitioners and experienced Readers share their insights into the Manual By-Law which states that Readers “shall make no remarks explanatory of the Lesson-Sermon at any time.”
Christian Science practitioners Mark Swinney and Christie Hanzlik offer some helpful prayers with regards to tithing and a deeper sense of financially contributing to Christian Science branch churches.
Practitioners and Teachers Fenella Bennetts, Elise Moore, and Lorenzo Rodriguez offer inspired thoughts for a branch church praying about the decision to remain a church or become a society.
Week 91: I am a member of a small branch church that appears to be in decline. We have had no Sunday school for almost 7 years. There are few members and not enough people to do the work. I am in poor health and am not able to attend on regular basis or participate activities. This has caused me a great deal of guilt. I love my branch church and want to participate. I pray for the church, but that seems all I can do at this time. The membership does not seem to understand this, and I often feel alone as a result, which only adds to the guilt. How can I feel inspired about church again?"
Responses by Mark Swinney and Christie Hanzlik
Responses by Dawn-Marie Cornett and Robert Gilbert
Church Alive's Bill Warrick responds to a question about church growth for time4thinkers.com.
Sandy Sandberg and Susan Jostyn explore the utility of online resources and online church services, and the continuing value of local branch churches.
Responses by Mark Swinney, Dawn Marie Cornett, Ute Keller, Evan Mehlenbacher, Lynne Buckley-Quirk, and Wendy Winegar
Responses by Kevin Graunke and Marian English offer healing ideas for a difficult church situation.
Mike Davis, researcher at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, and Christian Science practitioner and teacher Susan Mack offer a historical perspective and inspired ideas on how they have thought about the church solo.
Christian Science practitioners and teachers Stormy Falso and Tim Mitchinson share helpful ideas on how to more openly share Christian Science with our communities.
Christian Science practitioners Phil Davis and Dee Sharples offer helpful insights for branch churches considering how to ensure their business meetings stay mission-oriented.
Ginger Mack Emden and Mark Unger share helpful ideas and experiences for a Sunday School looking to embrace young families with no prior connection to Christian Science.
Don Wallingford and Beth Schaefer consider how membership in The Mother Church blesses Readers.
Lois Herr and Lindsey Biggs offer prayerful ideas to a church dealing with differences of opinion and gridlock.
John Kohler and Kate Robertson share helpful thoughts on prayerfully supporting Sunday School classes that are engaging and vibrant.
John Biggs and Rebecca Odegaard consider more deeply how Christian Science branch churches can (and do) celebrate Christmas.
The Church Alive team and community shared a few of the reasons they are grateful for chruch. Be sure to add your own gratitude in the comments section!
Reading your question I immediately thought of Jesus and his twelve disciples. What a family! Imagine sitting around with the Master-Teacher, listening, praying, and sharing deepest thoughts of Life together.
"I'm not sure there is anyone who hasn't felt the desire to sleep in on a Sunday or curl up at home on a Wednesday evening. The temptation to stay home can be a strong one. . ."
Responses by Frank Prinz-Wondollek and Dave Stevens. "What came immediately to me in response to this question is: What a wonderful opportunity to offer a lecture on progress and unfoldment! Inviting people to a lecture is about sharing our joy, our love, and our healings with a world yearning for solutions."
Responses by Ned Odegaard and Pamela Cook. There may be some practical steps available here, such as taking a fresh look at the job definition of these roles and stripping away excess steps that may have accumulated over the years. . .my instinct is that this question isn’t really one of equity in compensation, but of commitment to Christian Science.
Week 72: "I know of several branch churches that are having a hard time staying afloat. Mine in particular is considering cutting back on key activities, for example, not holding a lecture this year or reducing Reading Room hours. I know we need to be practical, but this seems like a step in the wrong direction to me. We should be making this demonstration of supply! Maybe this isn’t really a question, but I’m just looking for ideas."
Responses from Evan Mehlenbacher and Stephanie Johnson. When a branch church is faced with a declining membership and dwindling resources some deep soul-searching about what priorities are important to pursue, what unproductive activities should be stopped, and where attention should be focused to demonstrate growth can be very healthy. But above it all, it’s useful to remember that God provides freely and abundantly every resource needed for that branch to prosper.
Week 71: "We have a regular attendee, who has never expressed an interest in joining church, but is always complaining about church activities (criticizing the readers, choice of solo, etc.). After devoting so much time and efforts to church, it’s so frustrating to hear the complaints--particularly from someone who hasn’t been willing to participate. How can we handle this?"
Responses by Michelle Nanouche and Michael Fish. There is only one way to handle this kind of situation that is effective every single time - prayer.