In the fall of 2008, Barbara Vining, then President of The Mother Church, and Brian Talcott—both practitioners and teachers of Christian Science—held meetings in 20 cities with Christian Science practitioners, teachers, and nurses on "Embracing the Christian Science Periodicals." From January through May of 2009, they held meetings on the same subject by invitation from branch churches at 43 churches in the US. And they also conducted a similar meeting in Boston on June 6, which is available as an audio webcast at www.churchofchristscientist.org. The Journal asked Barbara and Brian to summarize the results and insights they gained.
OUR PRIMARY AIM in each workshop was to encourage church members to pray both for and with the periodicals. Both forms of prayer are acts of giving, and require stepping outside of personal concerns. We engaged participants in an effort to fulfill Mary Baker Eddy's vision for the periodicals in partnership with The Christian Science Publishing Society. Gaining glimpses of Mrs. Eddy's vision really got them excited about the periodicals. Many said, "Gee, there's a lot more work I need to be doing than I've been doing for the periodicals." They felt the urgency of this publishing mission.
The majority of those who came to the meetings were very supportive. While we heard some criticism, mostly there was real appreciation. We all felt inspired and invigorated to do much more, to see the breadth of Mrs. Eddy's vision—that the periodicals are not just for Christian Scientists. They're for humanity, for the forwarding of the Christian Science movement, to embrace humanity through the Comforter. These publications give answers that nothing else can give. Workshop participants realized the part that they can play in it through their prayers, and it stimulated them to get down to work for the periodicals.