Lectures explain what Christian Science is, and how it can be applied by anyone to any situation.
Mary Baker Eddy thought Christian Science lectures had a natural place on college campuses because of the open dialogue of ideas found there. Lectures provide a clear explanation of what Christian Science is and how these universal laws can be applied by anyone to any situation.
The CSO support team can help you with the process of selecting a lecture and the format that works best for your event. But your CSO can also reach out to the lecturers themselves to discuss your event and determine the best fit for what you would like to accomplish. View the complete list of lecturers.
The purpose of lectures is to address “a true and just reply to public topics condemning Christian Science, and to bear testimony to the facts pertaining to the life of the Pastor Emeritus.” (Manual 93- 96). How does this continue to be fresh and relevant to university campuses today?
One way to think about “topics condemning Christian Science” is that it’s just correcting any claim that runs counter to what we learn in Christian Science. Such as, “God is irrelevant in today’s technological world” or “Prayer is ineffective and unreliable.” So the purpose of these lectures should be to introduce and explain Christian Science and its system of healing. To learn more, check out this recent Christian Science Journal article with the managers of the Board of Lectureship.
There are many formats these lectures can take. Here are a few:
In-person lectures: In-person lectures consist of a lecturer coming to the campus to give the lecture. Most last about an hour, with time for questions and answers at the end. Besides the standard lecture format, there are other types including:
Classroom lectures: As the name indicates, these lectures are given to specific classes as a part of the curriculum. Some example of classes where such lectures have been held include:
- Women’s studies
- American Religion
- Medical Ethics
- Alternative Therapies
Panel lectures: Some CSOs organize panel discussion and invite Christian Science lecturers to speak on them along with professors or religious leaders. The lecturer will need to be allowed to speak for at least 10 minutes before the question and answer session for the event to be considered a lecture. Some examples include:
- A Buddhist lama and Christian Science lecturer discussed challenges to the reality of the material world
- A Jewish rabbi, Muslim imam, and a Christian Science lecturer shared their views on women and religion
- A Sufi healer, Methodist minister, Jewish rabbi, and a Christian Science lecturer discussed their approaches to prayer and healing.
- A chaplain, faculty members, and Christian Science lecturer discuss how to find spiritual solutions to stress.
- Online Lectures are available by several lecturers in a variety of formats. The three models from the 2014/15 school year that worked best were:
In-person lecture: Live broadcast of an in-person lecture.
Webinar: This is an online-only format. It’s important that your main audience still be the campus community.
Blended format: Everyone watches a pre-recorded lecture together, followed by a live Q&A session with the lecturer.
How to plan a lecture
Organizing a lecture starts with a desire to present spiritual solutions to campus, community, and global issues—followed by a plan.
- Pray. Most important of all…. consistent, expectant prayer— before, during, and after the lecture! Prayerfully support the fact that this event will bless and uplift others.
- Assess the campus needs. Are there specific issues your campus is grappling with? Think about the best way for a lecture to connect with the campus community and help elevate thought.
- Timing is important. Consider campus events that are coming up and how a lecture could tie in with them. Lectures have been given at wellness fairs, women’s history month events, and even during exam periods. Taking into consideration class schedules and campus events, determine which day and time would be the most convenient for the people you expect to attend.
- Choose and contact a lecturer. A lecturer will be happy to work with you on making decisions as to timing, location, format, and title. View lecturer bios and contact information.
- Finances. Come up with a budget. Your lecturer can tell you his or her lecture fees and give you an estimate for travel expenses. Determine what other costs you will incur: advertising, room rental, periodicals, books, etc. Assess your resources (CSO funds, university funding, CSO alumni, branch church funds, etc.) Determine how much your CSO can contribute or raise for the lecture. Contact TMC Youth for financial assistance information if additional funds are needed or if your CSO does not have access to other funding sources.
- Fill out an online lecture application form.
- Activity/book table. You can make arrangements for a table in a public area on campus to distribute information about the lecture and Christian Science. It’s a great way for the CSO members and the lecturer to work together to connect with the campus community and promote the lecture.
- Lecture preparation meeting. Determine a date and time for a metaphysical meeting with the lecturer and CSO members. These meetings are important because they are an opportunity for the CSO and lecturer to discuss how to prayerfully support the event. If possible, try to schedule an in-person prep meeting, though these can also be held over the phone.
- Advertising. Facebook events, the campus calendar, school newspaper, student radio station, and flyers are just a few effective methods of getting people to a lecture, but the best way to advertise is through personal invitations.
- Sign-up sheet. You’ll want to have a way to collect contact information from those wanting to know more about Christian Science at your event.
- Share the fruitage. Contribute an article to the CSO Wire and share an update on our Facebook page, Christian Science on Campus.
The CSO support team is happy to help. Feel free to contact us at: CSOsupport@csps.com (617) 450-3700.