Tuesday, 6 June 2017

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

The First Church of Christ, Scientist—also known
as The Mother Church—is located in Boston,
Massachusetts, USA.

By: Kevin Ness

Boston, MA — 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.”

Christian Scientists sing at The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

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.”

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Echo Faith News "Just a thought" column

The Bournemouth Daily Echo published my submission for their "Just a thought" column in the Faith News section of the Saturday 6th May 2017 print edition. They titled the piece: "Quiet moments can create happiness".

Here is the full text of the original submission:

People of all faiths, and even those of none, have occasionally had an experience where they have made a decision without fully knowing the reasons for it at the time, only to be very grateful for it afterwards. It's a phenomenon we might describe as “intuition”.

I had an experience like this. A few years ago I drove back one evening from an inspiring church service. On arriving home, I didn't park my car where I usually put it – kerbside on the road just outside my flat – but instead I found a space in the driveway. This was unusual for me at the time, but on this occasion it felt like the right thing to do.

The following morning I woke up to discover that high winds during the night had caused a tree to fall. Specifically, the roadside tree outside my flat had fallen into the very space where I would have normally parked my car. When the tree-removal expert arrived later in the day, he was impressed to find that this incident had caused no damage to anything but the tree itself. He remarked that it was a good job nobody had parked their car there. I had to agree.

To me, this intuition was evidence of God's protecting care for me, my car, and everyone else around. Many people believe in angels that can keep us safe and guide us to do the right things in our daily lives. The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, described angels as “God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect” (Science and Health p. 581).

Everyone can be receptive to such good thoughts when we turn away from the turbulence and materialism of worldly thinking. Why not find a few quiet moments today to find that sense of peace for yourself? Then you too can be ready to receive those spiritual intuitions that uplift and heal.

Yours Retro biography of Doris Day

The second edition of Yours Retro magazine, published last year, included a biography of the actress Doris Day who was raised in Christian Science. It prompted me to write the following letter:

Dear Editor,

I recently read with interest your biographical sketch of the life of Doris Day in the second edition of Yours Retro magazine.

Being a Christian Scientist myself, I was particularly interested in your account of the time when Doris Day had to deal with finding a lump on her breast. You mentioned that she was initially reluctant to visit a doctor, and you wrote that this was “because, as a Christian Scientist, she believed she should be able to heal herself.”

This, for me, raised a key question. Do Christian Scientists believe they can heal themselves? While it is true that Christ Jesus once quoted the proverb “Physician, heal thyself” (see Luke 4:23), I would say that healing in Christian Science is not about trying to make oneself well through mere human effort; rather it is the power of God's love that brings healing – a power available to everyone through earnest prayer, which enables us to see ourselves as God truly made us, in His own image and likeness.

As a Christian Scientist I have had many opportunities to see God's healing power at work, such as when my hand, injured in a night-time street attack, was rapidly healed through prayer. In this case I am grateful to say that I didn't have to deal with the situation by myself, but was helped by the loving and effective prayers of a professional Christian Science practitioner. Between us we were witness to God's healing power, which Mary Baker Eddy, discoverer of Christian Science, describes as “the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light, and sin to reformation.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. xi).

Of course, followers of Christian Science, like anyone else, are free to seek the form of healthcare they consider will most meet their needs, and I'm grateful to know that Doris Day was lead to follow the course of action she felt most appropriate.

With kind regards,

Peter Jackson

Echo snippet regarding local church services

The Daily Echo published a snippet in the January 14th edition, mentioning that First Church of Christ, Scientist, Bournemouth have now obtained planning permission to use the Christian Science Reading Room for church services.

The church used the Reading Room for services throughout January, during the period of the Yenton Hotel's closure, but have since reverted to holding services at the Yenton.

Letter to the Editor published on 14th November

A letter to the Editor of the Bournemouth Echo was published on 14th November 2016 responding to a couple of points made in a previous Echo article regarding First Church of Christ, Scientist's planning application to allow the Reading Room to be used for church services.

Although the Editor's title of the letter refers to a temporary plan, please note that the planning application does not specify whether the church would use the Reading Room on either a temporary or permanent basis, only that a successful application would give the church the option of using the premises for services. Currently the church holds its services at the Yenton Hotel on Gervis Road.

The letter, published both in print and online, can be read online here. It includes the following quote from Mary Baker Eddy, taken from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 60):

"Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man."

Echo article regarding planning application for the Christian Science Reading Room

The Bournemouth Echo published an article in the Faith News section of the November 5th, 2016, edition, which informed readers of a planning application made by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Bournemouth. This application is for the purpose of enabling the Christian Science Reading Room at 4 Carbery Row, Southbourne to be used for church services.

It should be noted that this application would permit the church to hold services there in addition to the current use of the premises as a Reading Room. Also it's important to note that the planning application does not specify whether this will be a permanent or a temporary place for services to be held. A successful application would simply give the church the option of using the premises for services. Currently the church continues to hold its services at the Yenton Hotel.

The Church of Christ, Scientist has elected officers who transact the business of the church, and Readers who conduct the services, but it does not have "leaders". Christian Scientists across the world recognise only one Leader of our Church -- the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Heloisa Rivas interviewed on Hope FM

Bournemouth Christian radio station Hope FM 90.1 featured Christian Science lecturer Heloisa Gelber Rivas on the Community Matters program with Simon Marsh on Thursday 30th March.

The interview with Heloisa lasted the full hour (interspersed with music) from 11am to 12noon, and took place on the day she was due to speak at a lecture sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Bournemouth. The lecture, entitled "Is health a spiritual reality?" took place at 7pm at the Miramar Hotel.

Preview of upcoming Christian Science lecture in Daily Echo

The Bournemouth Echo carried an article in the Faith News section, Saturday 18th March, giving details of the upcoming Christian Science lecture at the Miramar Hotel, Thursday 30th March, 7pm, with Heloisa Gelber Rivas CSB.

In the article, Ms. Rivas is quoted as saying: "Christian Science reveals God's nature not as a changeable human being but as the all-good eternal presence that is infinite intelligence, the divine Principle of Love that governs the universe."

Monday, 13 June 2016

Annual Meeting report in Bournemouth Daily Echo

A brief item on the subject of Annual Meeting 2016 of The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, USA was published in the Bournemouth Daily Echo on Saturday 11th June, 2016. The piece was entitled "Meeting Shown" and it was featured in the In Brief section of Faith News (p. 32). It mentioned that the live internet broadcast of this meeting had been shown at the Christian Science Reading Room in Southbourne.

It included the following quote from Margaret Rogers, Chair of the Christian Science Board of Directors:

"There's a universal hunger for the heartfelt experience of God's saving power. The demand is for a church that is vibrant with unselfed love."