"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. . ."
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.
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.
Responses by Miles Harbur and Susan Mack. From my study of The Manual, I have concluded that Mrs. Eddy’s hope was that each branch church would be keenly alert to the needs of its particular community, and that its bylaws would be designed to meet the needs of the members and the ways in which those members most naturally can communicate and support the democratic processes of their branch church.
Responses by Josh Niles and Sabrina Stillwell. When we are lifting up Christ in our thought, folks really are drawn to that, and when a church is lifting up Christ-healing in their service, that is really what we are drawn to in church isn't it?
Responses by Jill Aaron and Curt Wahlberg. This is a good question and sooner or later every First Reader confronts it. But, as each situation is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. First and foremost, I would pray, both before the meeting and during the testimonies.
Responses by Chet Manchester and Melanie Daglian. It’s important to embrace the entire community, even the world, in our prayer for Sunday School. God has already revealed the form of spiritual education that will meet the needs of all children, enable them to know their divine Parent, and to recognize their own unshakable spiritual worth When our thought opens in this way and our prayer spreads its wings over the whole community, wonderful things happen.
Responses by Melanie Wahlberg and Phil Davis. Boy, that question prompts soul-searching, doesn’t it. . . We certainly don’t want a trend of closing Christian Science branch churches, and the decision to keep a society going or to close or consolidate efforts with another is not trivial. But the bigger questions we can each ask are: “How can I love better? How can I learn to heal more quickly, more thoroughly, more consistently?”