Category Archives: Christian Science Monitor

At annual meeting, Christian Scientists see “new spirit” emerging in society

Boston, MA — by Kevin Ness, Committees on Publication Manager, The First Church of Christ, Scientist

In today’s culture of political divisions and religious strife, Christian Scientists spoke at their church’s annual meeting of “a new spirit” emerging, which is calling forth the best in people across denominational and national lines.

In an interview, the chair of the denomination’s board of directors, Allison Phinney, pointed to the simplest of signs seen at a nearby Methodist church in Boston’s South End: “God is Love.” “You are Loved.” “Justice.” Said Phinney: “Materialism doesn’t satisfy. It is Spirit, God, that brings us into newness of life, shifting thought, revealing the power of church.”

“Newness of life”—a Biblical expression—was integral to this year’s meeting. The theme, “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life,” came from the denomination’s textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by church founder Mary Baker Eddy. The meeting took stock of the challenges as well as the promise facing many Christian denominations in this period.

These very challenges have prompted many to look to their core values as people of faith, the board emphasized. In these core values is the power that renews individual lives and revitalizes churches and society as a whole.

There’s an awakening, Phinney said, to the fact that “we have to work together, that it requires the practical Christianity, which Christian Scientists would term healing, so evident in the life and love of Christ Jesus.” It is bringing out “a new spirit of joy and healing at work in our own movement right as communities around the world are searching for deeper answers to human needs.”

The recent launch of a daily digital edition of the 109-year-old Christian Science Monitor is one result of this deeper look at core values. According to church officials, it represents a modest new beginning, focusing less on the number of Internet hits and more on the Monitor’s basic ideal of healing and impartial journalism. “We’re seeing ever stronger demands for just treatment of all the members of human society,” Phinney noted, “and we know it is Spirit, God, the divine influence and energy, that is touching the heart of humanity.”

The new church president introduced at the meeting, Irmela Wigger of Hamburg, Germany, is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher active in the ministry of spiritual healing. Following a tragic incident of violence in her family some years ago, her church family brought her through. “Church is about serving God,” she said, “and from this serving we get a pouring out of Love—God’s love—you can’t imagine.”

According to the church’s clerk, Suzanne Riedel, new members joined the church from 29 countries, including Australia, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Portugal, Togo, Uruguay and Zimbabwe, as well as the United Kingdom and United States. The meeting included reports of healing as well as church progress.

Founded 138 years ago, the Church of Christ, Scientist, is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. The use of the term “Science” refers to what Mary Baker Eddy saw as the spiritual laws of God as understood and demonstrated by Jesus. Members come from all walks of life and backgrounds, including the physical sciences. Said board member Rich Evans, “We don’t equate serious spiritual commitment with ignorance or unreasonable belief.” The conclusions of the Christian Science founder “were untraditional in some respects, but she thought deeply about the relation between practical Christianity and demonstrated proof of God’s great love for humanity.”

George Reed can be reached at newhampshire@compub.org www.linkedin.com/in/georgereedcsb

Christian Scientists gather in Boston at denomination’s annual meeting; ponder the relevance of church

Boston CS church edifice with attributionPhoto: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA
© 2016 The Christian Science Board of Directors

By: Richard Evans, Manager, Christian Science Committees on Publication, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA

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. Christian Scientists from around the world, including New Hampshire, attended this year’s meeting.

For further resources see: http://christianscience.com/press-room