RESPONSE 1: FRANK PRINZ-WONDOLLEK
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. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it” (p. 57). A Christian Science lecture is an opportunity to share truth and love selflessly with all mankind.
As we all know, it is not only about obeying a Manual By-Law and having to organize—out of habit or routinely—a lecture a year.
To the contrary—the Manual has been established to support each one of us in experiencing healing as well as continuous progress and growth. This is true for the individual and for a branch church.
For this reason Article XXXII Sect. 4 in the Manual reads, “The Mother Church and the branch churches shall call on the Board of Lectureship annually for one or more lectures.”
We may well offer more than one lecture per year. Organizing one or more lectures helps promote our spiritual progress, unfoldment, and healing—individually and collectively. A lecture is also a form of Christian-Scientific treatment, which requires every member not only to help organize but first and foremost to further our common spiritual growth.
Throughout preparation meetings and while lecturing, I’ve experienced healings, and I know others have as well. In one preparation meeting we talked about how to give a treatment in Christian Science and especially about our spiritual unity with God. During this meeting, three members were healed from physical issues. And also afterwards, they decided to have even more than one lecture a year. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “We, to-day, in this class-room, are enough to convert the world if we are of one Mind; for then the whole world will feel the influence of this Mind; as when the earth was without form, and Mind spake and form appeared” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 279).
Let us all give our consent that a lecture will bring healing and help others feel the Christ within their hearts. This is what I understand to be loyal to the Manual requirements. These new ways and ideas will open up the way to continue as a branch church and experience supply. When we begin to understand and accept that we are all practitioners and practice the spiritual laws of Christian Science, this will automatic progress and healing in every way to your branch church.
RESPONSE 2: DAVE STEVENS
You have probably read some of the ideas which have come to other churches as solutions. The flow of right ideas moving Church forward never stops. Its source is infinite Love. Keep working out from the infinite resources of Love. Church is an infinite idea, dynamic and inexhaustible. Christian Science itself is infinite, always expanding in human consciousness, never contracting. You and your church are part of this expansion. Every activity of church is an activity of infinite good. I love to think about the fact that where any good is expressed, the unlimited divine Principle of all good is present and active.
Establish and build your “can do list” and get inspired about the spiritual reasons why you can. The “can’t do” list should only contain those items that suggest church as limited. What we can’t do is go there. Embracing God’s law of progress rather than trying to hang on—or return to an old normal—is a wonderful way to find a new and improved normal. Church is not designed to merely hang in there or stay the same. As an organized spiritual activity, church is designed to progress and flourish.
No doubt you have considered specifically that every Manual provided activity occurs within the divine economy where supply and demand are one. This kind of spiritually illumined thought looks right through apparent barriers to what can be done. After all, there is no being stuck between a rock and a hard place in God’s universe. Every rock and place belongs to Mind, Love, and can only support right activity. Note that the Manualprovides for lecturers to adjust the fee or rely on contributions (see Manual Article XXXII, Sect. 7-9). I had some experience using this provision as a lecturer and it always worked out well for both lecturer and branch church.
The lecture committee or whole church might enjoy working with Mrs. Eddy’s letter to the Board of Lectureship (see pp. 248-249, The First Church of Christ Scientist, and Miscellany). Mrs. Eddy writes about “the emancipation of the race.” THIS is what we are about in our church work. Every bit of our witnessing to the living, healing Christ is participating in the emancipation of the race. I’m sure you feel the thrill of this grand purpose. It’s a holy purpose, and therefore fully funded. Every day provides the opportunity to do our part, and Love’s infinite resources provide the means.