Response 1: Chet Manchester
First of all, there have been some inspiring things shared recently on Church Alive that speak to this very need: The Sunday School in Watford, England, for example, grew from two students to almost twenty students. Their approach began by asking the entire membership to embrace the Sunday School in prayer. They also encouraged their two students to invite their friends and to realize that the Sunday School wasn't just for Christian Scientists.
You could engage your members in a similar way by asking them to let their friends know about your Sunday School as a vital resource for moral and spiritual education. Cherishing the idea of our Sunday School as a universal idea is a strong starting point for our individual prayers and discussions. I like to value and pray about the Christian Science Sunday School in a similar light to The Christian Science Monitor. Sunday School is to spiritual education what The Monitor is to journalism: thoughtful, unbiased, solution-oriented, compassionate, global. The vision Mary Baker Eddy had for her Sunday School is just as grand and compelling as the vision she had for her paper: "to spread undivided the Science that operates unspent" and "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind" (see The First Church of Christ Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353).
Here’s another idea: Why not ask your members to write out a letter of gratitude to the Christian Science Sunday School for what they gained from it, including any healings they had as a result of what they learned? This collective gratitude will be a powerful prayer. I would also recommend letting your members know about the inspirational resources for Sunday School teachers that are available in the "Global Sunday School" area. These audio and video materials can be shared with friends via email and are a wonderful way to introduce others to the ideas at the heart of our Sunday School. And, lastly, keep an eye out for a brand new "app" that is now available for cell phones and mobile devices. It's a topics-based tool for searching the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's writings on your cellphone and was designed for Sunday School students, teachers, and supporters. It will make it easy and fun to share inspiration from the Pastor with others and can be a wonderful resource to share with friends and neighbors. Visit www.goverse.org to learn more.
Response 2: Melanie L. Daglian
One of the most powerful ways to transform a Sunday School is to recognize what its real purpose is. As part of the revelation of Church that divine Love gave to humanity through the discovery of Christian Science, Sunday School is actually Love’s provision of spiritual education for the world’s children.
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.
A friend told me about a time when she was preparing to serve as Superintendent of her branch church’s Sunday School, and spent much of the preceding day in consecrated prayer. She prayed with the definition of “Children” from Science and Health, that reads in part, “The spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love” (p. 582 ). She gained a wonderful sense of the infinitude of God, and His limitless, pure representation. She said that the next day they had more children than they had ever seen in Sunday School — dozens, in fact — including many they had never seen before. There were so many children, they didn’t have room to hang all the coats! As she was relating this to me, I realized that her selfless prayer had had no limits — she wasn’t praying for children to come to Sunday School, she was simply becoming conscious of the spiritual reality of an infinite God and His infinite reflection, a truth that embraces all. As a result, many parents and children were able to hear the Christ in consciousness that weekend, and the natural result was to come to where they could receive the form of spiritual education Love has provided for all children.
This friend also shared how at another time, they were setting out copies of the Christian Science Quarterly on chairs for the opening of Sunday school. A fellow member said, “We only need one row.” My friend said, “Let’s put out two rows.” They did so, and that morning both rows of chairs were filled with children.
Jesus’ promised Comforter has come. Our entire community can hear the voice of that Comforter as it speaks to humanity with the love and truth they are seeking. Prayer that recognizes that the Christian Science Sunday School is here for everyone, and embraces all in its scope of love, brings tangible, healing results.