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.
Press Room blog
Moji Solanke George, Nigeria West, @CSCOM_NigWest
As most Christians know, baptism is one of the seven sacraments or religious rites of orthodox Christianity. John the Baptist, a Jewish Nazarene and relative of Jesus, established baptism in Christendom. He is the forerunner of the Saviour, because, prior to his conception, the angel Gabriel prophesied to Zacharias, his father, that John would go before Jesus in the spirit and power of Elias, call the Jews to repentance and prepare them to receive the Messiah – Luke 1:17.
John preached ‘the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins’ (Luke 3:30). Multitudes that came to John for baptism were sternly warned in Luke 3:7-14, that only practical repentance was acceptable. When asked what this meant, John told them that repentance went beyond the mere symbolism of being immersed in the River Jordan, to bringing forth worthy fruits – being transformed and regenerated – expressing qualities of kindness, honesty, compassion and contentment. John added that Jesus would baptise ‘with the Holy Ghost and with fire’.
This article was published on The Guardian, @NGRGUARDIAN on January 15, 2017
Eric Nelson, N. California, @NorCalCS
Could it be that by looking past the apparent fixedness of matter we might find our way to better health?
Jay Walker described it as “the greatest moment in the history of human imagination,” a period some 300 years ago when mankind first began to accept the idea that the sun, and not the earth, was at the center of our solar system.
“This, ladies and gentlemen, is the dividing line between faith and reason,” said Walker, an entrepreneur and founder of The Walker Library of the History of Human Imagination, as he described an illustration from the world’s first celestial atlas at the most recent TEDMED conference in Palm Springs.
This article was published on Communities Digital News, @CommDigiNews on January 16, 2017
Valerie Minard, New Jersey, @valerieminard
While I was picking up my dry cleaning, I got into a conversation with the attendant about New Year’s resolutions. When she started to share her goal, I expected her to say something standard like, “I want to lose weight” or “exercise more.” But much to my surprise, top on her list was to go to church more — and not just on Sundays. Why would someone say that? It made me curious.
Nowadays, it’s common to hear reasons for not going to church — life is too busy; someone’s had a bad experience; or someone thinks it’s not relevant. But according to a 2012 Pew Foundation survey, many of these 46 million unaffiliated Americans still think of themselves as religious or spiritual. “Two thirds of them say they believe in God (68%)….More than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37%), and one in five (21%) say they pray every day.” Interestingly, the religiously unaffiliated still think religious institutions are beneficial because they strengthen community and help the impoverished.
This article was published on Medium.com, @Medium on January 18, 2017
Hank Teller, Mississippi, @MSCompub
Today, student loan debt in the United States totals $1.3 trillion. Carrying a large debt can be extremely stressful for young students and recent graduates, so this problem deserves close attention.
It has been my experience that a spiritual understanding of God as the supplier of all good, as taught in Christian Science, brings spiritual clarity to thought that enables a person to pray in a way that can bring healing to all kinds of problems, including debt. Communing with God through prayer gives us a better understanding of the spiritual reality, and enables us to see that the law of God, good, is already in operation.
This article was published on The Christian Science Monitor, @CSMonitor on December, 2, 2016
(The Day of the Bible: A Reflection on its Timeless Message)
Ana Carla Vicencio, Brazil, @AnaCVicencio
Para este ano, a Sociedade Bíblica do Brasil lançou o tema "Ó SENHOR Deus, a tua palavra dura para sempre; ela é firme como o céu" (Salmo 119:89).
Gosto de pensar nessa ideia de firmeza atribuída à palavra de Deus, pois transmite uma segurança que supera o tempo. Comecei a ler e entender a Bíblia, quando conheci a Ciência Cristã, uma religião que se apoia inteiramente nos ensinamentos bíblicos e apresenta um tema semanal para ser lido e estudado em suas Igrejas ao redor do mundo, contendo citações bíblicas acompanhadas de citações do livro Ciência e Saúde.
Artigo publicado originalmente em Jornal O Debate, @JornalODebate em dezembro 7, 2016
Bob Cummings, Michigan, @csinmichigan
Webster’s Dictionary defines “relevant” as “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.”
Some people find Christ Jesus relevant today while others might not. Perhaps some are seeking more evidence of that relevance.
Dr. Luis Palau, a native of Argentina who has spent time in Detroit and Grand Rapids, addressed this issue as keynote speaker at the Michigan Prayer Breakfast in Lansing last May. He shared seven areas in which he feels Christ Jesus’ teaching is relevant today, including family stability and peace in the community.
This article was published on Dearborn Press and Guide, @pressandguide on December, 20, 2016
Claudia Honorato, Chile, @puramentesana
Fácil pareciera ser caer en las drogas o abuso de bebidas cuando se está en un medio en que su consumo es habitual. Sin embargo, cuán unido y conectado uno se sienta con la divinidad hace la diferencia, tal como lo mostró “The Hollywood Reported” en un reportaje a Eddy Murphy.
Artículo publicado en Crónica Viva, @cronica_viva en noviembre 9, 2016
Paradzai Kudyakwenzara, Zimbabwe, Africa
Some individuals in our society are addicted to substances (tobacco, harmful drugs and certain medical prescriptions) that do not improve their health, their financial situation, their family life or their communities.
This article was published on The Sunday Mail, @SundayMailZim on November, 20, 2016
Tim Mitchinson, Illinois, @TimMitchinson
The election is over. Some are happy, some are not. It would seem as if closing the political divisiveness in this nation would be like moving mountains.
This article was published on Peoria Journal-Star, @pjstar on November, 21, 2016
María Damiani, Spain, @compubespana
Se crea o no, las supersticiones pueden ser una forma de idolatría y se las define como creencias extrañas a la fe religiosa y contrarias a la razón; la creencia de que haciendo algo se consigue controlar una situación.
Muchas personas comienzan el día consultando el horóscopo. Otras creen en los mitos de los gatos negros, o romper un espejo, o pasar bajo una escalera, y muchos más.
Artículo publicado originalmente en El Telescopio Digital, @telescopiodigit en octubre 10, 2016
Bill Scott, Washington, @WilliamEdScott
Is there anything more senseless than road rage that ends in violence? My heart goes out to anyone connected to such a tragedy, like the family of the father who was recently shot to death after cutting someone off in traffic.
What can we do to stop this from happening?
This article was published on BlogCritics, Blogcritics on October 12, 2016
Leroy Gatlin, Oklahoma, @CSOKmedia
Dentists work with their Christian Science patients to respect their faith while providing treatment
In 1902, a New York dentist removed 24 teeth from a patient without using anesthetics. The patient, who had sought a Christian Science practitioner’s help through prayer to get through the procedure, experienced no pain. Ten days later, she had new teeth put in—again, without the use of anesthetics and without pain. “I always had a terrible dread of going to the dentist,” the patient, Roxa Smith, later reflected, “until at the age of fifty-three I came to the conclusion that God was no respecter of persons, and would help me the same as others who have a little understanding of the Truth.” (1)
This article was published on Dentistry IQ, @DentistryIQ on September 23, 2016
Debra Chew, Tennessee, @CSinTennessee
It seems like many people these days are talking about “identity,” which can mean different things to different people. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” But, just who is yourself? Is it that physical reflection in your mirror or even what you think about yourself? Or could it be that your identity is spiritual?
This article was published on Chattanoogan.com, @chattanoogancom on September 19, 2016
Kay Stroud, NE Australia, @KayJStroud
You have exciting travel plans. You announce your plans to friends and family.What’s the reaction?Is your excitement reflected back to you? Or do you find yourself swamped by a barrage of fears and prejudices? Worse still, are you adversely influenced by this negativity?We certainly can be, unless we take the opportunity to uncover what it is that’s at the root of those misconceptions.
This article was published on Northern Star, @northern_star_ on September 13, 2016
Steven Salt, Ohio, @saltseasoned
No trespassing. Keep out. Violators will be ...Constructing borders and defending them seems an irresistible proclivity manifested on many levels. From national boundaries to backyard fences and even personal space, there is a strong impulse to establish lines of demarcation that separate us from each other for the purpose of safeguarding. There are consequences.
This article was published on Cleveland Plain Dealer, @clevelanddotcom September 14, 2016
Ingrid Peschke, MA, @ImPeschke
Over the years, the Olympics has provided many movie-worthy moments and Rio 2016 has been no exception.Stories of mental and physical endurance, of the world’s top athletes beating overwhelming odds even before they ever line up against the competition has drawn millions of us to tune in and watch the games.
This article was published on Huffington Post/Wellness, @HPLifestyle on August 19, 2016
Driessen, New York, @vandriessencs
Does the human mind have the capacity to heal us?Some in the medical and psychiatric research fields have been saying that the human mind enables us to heal ourselves. A good example of this type of thinking is Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., stem cell biologist and author of several science books. In a recent video on his website he says, “When we change our thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs, we can change our biology. We are the masters of our lives not the victim of our genes.”
This article was published on NYSpirit.com, @NYSpirit on August 12, 2016
Leide Lessa, USA, @LeideLessa
Un estudio realizado en Estados Unidos reveló que el gorrion melodico es más agresvio a la hora de defender su territorio urbano que sus pares que habitan en el mundo rural.
Esta El artículo fue publicado originalmente en El Austral de la Araucanía, @soytemuco on August 21, 2016
Tony Lobl, @TonyLobl
As Hillary Clinton breaks the penultimate glass ceiling, and takes aim at becoming America’s first “Madam President”, a glance back at the woman who first crossed the threshold into a UK Parliamentary role.
This article was published on The Hub News, @TheNewsHub on July 29, 2016
Eric Nelson, @NorCalCS
“I’ve heard some people that I know and like saying quite offensive things,” said Carol Lindsay, a white, 80-year-old Londoner speaking with a reporter from NPR about the increase in racially motivated hostility she’s witnessed since the recent Brexit vote. “You know, just nastiness. I think it’s like a contagion.”Given the universal aversion to disease, Lindsay’s analogy is unsettling. Chances are, though, that on average we do far more to protect ourselves from the proverbial common cold than any tendency we may have to see people of another color or race as a threat to our personal well-being.
This article was published on Communities Digital News, @CommDigiNews on July 25, 2016
Elizabeth Santángelo, Argentina, @elisantangelo1
Al pensar en este título, recordé una reflexión de Mahatma Gandhi cuando dijo: “Nuestra recompensa se encuentra en el esfuerzo y no en el resultado. Un esfuerzo total es una victoria completa”.Hoy en día en las sociedades así como en la experiencia de cualquier persona, sea ésta profesional, político o deportista, se hace ver que solo aquellos que llegan a la meta alcanzan la victoria y por eso se sienten realizados.
Artículo publicado originalmente en Armstrong y Region, @armstrongyregion on julio 23, 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.
Manager and Church media contact
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.
210 Massachusetts Ave. P09-10
Boston, MA 02115 USA
Church media contact