Boston, MA — When Christian Scientists convened in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, June 6, for the annual meeting of their denomination, they faced a question that many mainline Christian churches also confront: can church be relevant today?
Their perspective on this question—as on just about everything else—runs counter to the popular narrative. “There’s a universal hunger for the heartfelt experience of God’s saving power,” said Margaret Rogers, chairwoman of the five-member lay board of directors of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which has its worldwide headquarters in Boston. “The demand,” she said, is for a church “that is vibrant with unselfed love and actively engaged in authentic Christian healing for humanity.”
For most Christian Scientists, this doesn’t seem to mean better outreach or new ministries and programs. It means drilling down on the thing they feel they bring to the world: spiritual healing, based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, that is expected to be both humane in spirit and effective in results. “We pray,” explained another director, Allison W. Phinney, “because prayer aligns us with how things really work. It lets us see and feel more of the immense good and the divine Love that’s actually here for us and for humanity.”
Founded 137 years ago by religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Science Church is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. While relatively small in numbers, the denomination has branch churches in more than 60 countries and has had an outsized impact on Christian thought by its insistence that God’s goodness brings not only salvation from sin, but healing of illness and suffering.
The group’s diversity is seen among some of the new officers announced at the meeting. The new church president is Annu Matthai of Bangalore, India. The new First Reader—who conducts Sunday worship and Wednesday testimony meetings at The Mother Church in Boston—is Louis E. Benjamin of Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The new Second Reader is Diane Uttley Marrapodi of Forest Hill, Maryland, USA. Many church members travelled to Boston for Monday’s proceedings, while more followed the meetings live online.
The theme of this year’s meeting—“Church: ‘healing and saving the world’”—comes from Mary Baker Eddy’s view that Christ Jesus’ original Christianity has deep relevance for the world and its future, and that church must be a practical force for good in daily lives, bringing hope and spiritual progress for humanity. One small symbol of this is the planned renewal of the Christian Science plaza in Boston’s Back Bay. The outdoor spaces surrounding The Mother Church will be updated to better benefit the community as an environmentally sustainable oasis in the midst of the city. A longer-term commitment of the denomination has been publication of The Christian Science Monitor, an international news outlet providing daily and weekly news, online and in print—news that is intended to bring light, rather than heat, to the important issues of the day.
Members at the meeting reported on activities in their regions, as well as provided examples of healing from around the world.
Press Room blog
Wendy Margolese, Ontario, Canada
Wildfires, earthquakes and other disastrous forces of nature have been coined “acts of God”. Some insurance companies use this wording in contracts to designate disastrous events over which we seem to have no control.
This article was published on Metroland Media on May 13, 2016
Valerie Minard, New Jersey
In 2008,Claire Haser was diagnosed with cancer and told it would be fatal. Although in the past, she had used traditional medicine, she decided to skip the recommended surgery and chemotherapy. Instead, she decided that what she really needed to do was “change her relationship with fear.” In the process, she did some deep soul searching. Five years later, when she went back to the doctor for some unrelated tests, she discovered that she was cancer-free.
This article was published on MyCentralJersey.com on May 16, 2016
Tim Mitchinson, Illinois
Years ago I read a story about a man who was out on a walk and noticed a bird standing still, transfixed. The bird was staring at a snake that was coming closer and getting ready to strike. Just then, the man threw a stick between the two. The snake recoiled, and the bird flew off. Through the years, that story has continued to hold a lesson for me.
This article was published on Peoria Journal-Star on May 17, 2016
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of articles on aging gracefully. In Every Man a King, Orison Swett Marden muses, ‘Better than the art of growing old gracefully is the secret of not growing old at all.” Although Marden’s 1906 “secret” focused on how mind and thought can influence one’s longevity, today’s headlines portray the “secret” as a pill which purports to extend the normal human age span an additional forty years. (Can people really die of old age?) Not to be outdone, demographer Aubrey deGrey published in the Annals of New York Academy of Science, that “[those] born toward the end of the twenty-first century may well have a life expectancy exceeding 5,000 years.”
This article was published on Medford Mail Tribune, @mailtribune on March 24, 2016
"Casablanca”, la famosa película protagonizada por Humphrey Bogart e Ingrid Bergman en 1942, que narra un drama romántico en la ciudad marroquí de Casablanca, no se rodó en esa ciudad.
Muchos preguntaron: "¿Dónde está el Café de Rick?”. "¿Dónde tocaba Sam el piano?”.
Todo el mundo cree que se filmó en Marruecos, tanto es así, que se llenaba de turistas que querían visitar el Bar de Rick, que no existía. La película fue filmada íntegramente en Hollywood.
This article was published on Tiempo de San Juan, Argentina, @tiempodesanjuan on April 19, 2016
While researching her New York Times bestselling book “The Gratitude Diaries,” author Janice Kaplan came up with what she described during a recent talk in San Francisco as her “big plan” for maintaining an attitude of gratitude as a way to get rid of her next migraine headache.
“Well, there was sort of a problem,” said the former Parade Editor-In-Chief, “which is that I never got another migraine headache while I was writing the book.”
Apparently gratitude works in both preventative and curative ways.
This article was published on Communities Digital News, @CommDigiNews on April 4, 2016
Why would reasonable people turn to the practice of spiritual healing in today’s high tech, pervasively medical culture?
Many automatically assume that Christian Scientists, who have been widely known for their practice of spiritual healing through more than a century, must not be “reasonable people.” Journalists often characterize them as “faith healers” – usually a term of derision implying ignorance and fanatical belief. And yet, this label is seriously misleading, as most such stereotypes are.
Christian Scientists are a diverse, substantial religious body. They’re conscientious, thinking people, on the whole. Deep as their religious convictions are, they make their own choices and respect the rights of others to do the same. They appreciate the humanitarian efforts of doctors for those who turn to them.
They see Christianity not as a narrow church dogma to be blindly adhered to, but as a way of life that has to be responsibly approached and profoundly thought through. Even in the face of public opposition – Christian Science was banned in Germany under the Nazi regime, for instance – this is the spirit in which Christian Scientists strive to approach the practice of spiritual healing.
The study republished here suggests the real reason for Christian Scientists’ continuing devotion to this practice: the actual experience of healing that it has repeatedly brought in their lives.
The study carefully quantifies the medical evidence referred to in many thousands of testimonies of healing published in the Christian Science Sentinel and Journal over a twenty-year period. Undertaken in 1989, it wasn’t (and isn’t) an effort to “prove” the truth of Christian Scientists’ faith, but simply to look at a large and challenging body of evidence that is generally ignored in public and academic discussion.
Christian Scientists themselves find these healings deeply humbling. We certainly recognize how much more we have to learn. We grieve just as others do when healing does not come. The study simply points to the breadth and scope of healing that has come through this consistent spiritual practice, and why Christian Scientists see such healing as significant beyond their own denomination.
Thoughtful people may differ in their views on the ultimate explanation of these experiences, but it’s neither honest nor scientific to dismiss them in a world that, for all its technical advances, still cries out for a deeper understanding of the spiritual sources of healing in every sphere of human life.
Committee on Publication
The division of the Christian Science church that engages with members of the media, lawmakers, and the public is known as the Committee on Publication. The Committee is not the publishing arm of the Church, but serves as an informational resource to answer questions and clear up misconceptions about the practice of Christian Science.
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The Manager of the Committees on Publication, Rich Evans, guides the Church’s 135 representatives (Committees) throughout the world as they interact with journalists and local lawmakers. Use the directory at the bottom of this page to find a press/legislative contact near you. Or be in touch with the Church media contact for assistance.
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