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Christian Science lectures: Connecting our communities with a new set of tools for change

From the August 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Our thoughts and prayers are with them” is an expression that’s come under a lot of fire recently. It’s accused not only of being a meaningless phrase, but of hiding a mentality that isn’t really willing to do something useful. In fact, many see prayer and spirituality as the smallest part of the equation, at best, when it comes to making the kind of change for the better they’re earnestly seeking. 

And yet, the tools that are available for making change can seem painfully limited. The context within which we seek progress is frequently restricted by a host of preconceived notions as to what’s even possible; it can seem as if avenues for betterment must necessarily be based on physical resources, influential personalities, and sheer willpower. 

Of course, plenty of bright light is shining throughout the world, too. There are individuals and groups who are finding ways to think outside the box, and are humbly moved by universal ideals to push past obstacles and limitations. Even so, what would benefit many of us looking to see change for the better is a whole new basis on which to problem-solve; a new set of tools; a hope rooted in something beyond the borders of limited resources and personal power. 

Christian Science is able to offer that hope, and a clear methodology for significant progress—for finding effective ideas, rooted in spiritual perspectives, that lead to what can seem like impossible change. As Jesus once said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37, English Standard Version). So, if the demand is great, and the tools exist through what Christian Science explains, how do those willing to be “the laborers”—you and I—help connect the dots between the two? 

A Christian Science lecture is one way.

Christian Science is able to offer hope, and a clear methodology for significant progress.

Attendees at lectures often comment afterward about how ideas in the lecture have allayed fears, inspired them to new and transformative action, and even brought healing to some pain or problem. This year, the Board of Lectureship has heard about healings in relationships and workplaces, and of conditions such as dementia, tumor, arthritis, loss of taste and smell, injury from accident, and alcoholism, to name a few. Even some small groups sponsoring a lecture in areas where they’ve hardly seen any new interest in Christian Science in years, have reported having a lecture audience that was 50 to 75 percent newcomers. The commonality among the fruitful stories we hear is that members feel genuinely moved in new ways, mentally, by the Spirit.

As the members of the Board of Lectureship work alongside those who are sponsoring the lectures, we’ve been considering how the characteristics of depth, accessibility, and heart are integral to effective lectures. 

Depth

Christian Science lectures are meant to explore some of the deepest, most revolutionary, and unique ideas that Christian Science has to offer the world today. One way this happens is by addressing underlying perceptions related to what’s developing in thought about health, science, society, and spirituality. The simplest ideas at the heart of Jesus’ teachings are infinitely deep. And the depth and value of Christian Science are shown in the way it explains how those ideas apply to our lives and to what concerns us; how and why those perspectives heal; how they can be true even when it doesn’t seem like it, and how that can be proved. 

Accessibility

It’s possible to have a message that’s both deep and universally accessible. Since it’s the nature of Christ—the healing Truth which comes to every individual in whatever way they can understand—to reach us through many different forms, our striving for simultaneous depth and accessibility is about approximating Christly communication. And that helps us consider how to share Christian Science in a way that’s relatable to anyone. It means conveying a pure and accurate message while being humbly open to any number of ways that message can be expressed. It means explaining and clarifying terms that may mean many different things to people, and showing the step-by-step logic that walks someone through the ideas in a way they can comfortably understand and consider for themselves.

Heart

We want to be sure love is shining through our work, that universal affection is felt at every lecture. The lecture is not meant to be a merely intellectual presentation about Christian Science, but a palpable experience with Christian Science itself. No words can ever replace the power of the Spirit. It’s the Spirit that heals, and our work with church members sponsoring the lecture is about bringing everyone to the table as equal partners in recognizing and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit, and in bearing witness to the fact that everyone at the lecture can experience that, too.

The world is yearning for paths of progress that bring genuine change for the better.

These kind of characteristics help someone who’s come to hear about Christian Science see that there are valid reasons to believe that inspired thought and prayers can actually lead to progress in the areas they care about, and on the level they crave. 

Among the worldwide work being done by the Board of Lectureship this year, a couple of lecturers will be giving special prayer and focus to two specific areas. One area is lectures in classrooms, and the other is lectures for the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking members of communities in the United States. Articles explaining more about these areas of focus will be published in the next two issues of the Journal.

The world is yearning for paths of progress that bring genuine change for the better. It needs all of us living and proving valuable in our daily activities and in our communities what Christian Science explains is possible through spiritualized thoughts and prayers. Lives lived that way are “the best sermon ever preached,” as Mary Baker Eddy puts it in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 201). Included in that is the way we all communicate and share openly what’s informing and inspiring us, and a Christian Science lecture is a unique and integral part of that sharing.

Tom McElroy
Manager, Christian Science Board of Lectureship


In accordance with Article XXXI, Section 1, of the Church Manual, the Christian Science Board of Directors has elected the following members to serve as lecturers from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

Anakor, Godwin A., C.S.B.
Enugu, Nigeria
McElroy, Tom, C.S.
Boston, Massachusetts
Arneth, Heike, C.S.B. 
Munich, Germany
Milone, Mari, C.S.B.
Montevideo, Uruguay
Beattie, Mary, C.S.B.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Nanouche, Michelle, C.S.B.
Paris, France
Bikai, James Pascal, C.S.B.
Yaoundé, Cameroon
Nesi, Giulia, C.S.B.
Fairfield, Connecticut
Bothwell, Mary, C.S.B.
Pasadena, California
Niles, Josh, C.S.B.
Boise, Idaho
Fischer, Alexandre, C.S.
Paris, France
Packer, Beth, C.S.
Berry, New South Wales, Australia
Frederick, Nate, C.S.
Boothbay, Maine
Passaglia, Mónica, C.S.B.
Caseros, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Frizotti, Evelin, C.S.B.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Pennix, Brian G., C.S.B.  
Alamo, California
George, Mojisola A. Solanke, C.S.B.
Lagos, Nigeria
Prinz, Ulrike, C.S.
Hamburg, Germany 
Glokpor, Rodger, C.S.
Lomé, Togo
Rivas, Heloísa Gelber, C.S.B.
Boston, Massachusetts
Hegarty, Janet, C.S.B.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Rose, Mary Alice, C.S.B.
Brookeville, Maryland
Hockley, Phillip, C.S.
Skewen, Neath, Wales
Signs, Fujiko, C.S.B.
State College, Pennsylvania, and Tokyo, Japan
Hohle, Dave, C.S.B. 
Chicago, Illinois
Smara, Fabián, C.S.B.
El Bolsón, Río Negro, Argentina
Klein, Juliane, C.S.B.
Berlin, Germany
Smeke, Enrique, C.S.B. 
Newburyport, Massachusetts, and Miami, Florida
Lessa, Leide, C.S.B. 
Quincy, Massachusetts
Snorek-Yates, Larissa, C.S.
Boston, Massachusetts
Mashos, Kari, C.S.B.
Cape Neddick, Maine, and Athens, Greece
Taylor, Lindsey J., C.S.B.
Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England
Mata, José de Dios, C.S.B.
Elsah, Illinois, and Badajoz, Spain
Wahlberg, Melanie, C.S.
Lake Forest, California
Mavungu, Mabiala, C.S.B.
Willebroek, Belgium
Walters, Maryl F., C.S.B.
Saint Louis, Missouri
McCurties, Mark, C.S.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Woodard, Patricia C., C.S.
Dallas, Texas 

Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 

Hebrews 13:15, 16 

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