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Africa contributes biggest share of new members to Christian Science church

At its Annual Meeting, the church emphasizes global outreach, financial stewardship

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For the first time last year, more new members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, are from Africa than are from the United States.

That news, which preceded the church's Annual Meeting Monday in Boston, underscored the meeting's theme of "all with one accord in one place" – a reference to the unity of Christ Jesus' disciples on the day of Pentecost.

The theme stems from the extensive travels of the church's board of directors in recent years and their focus on the potential of church to heal political, ethnic, religious, and economic divisions facing humanity.

"We saw how important it is all over the world – where there is so much division and a feeling that we cannot solve long-standing conflicts – to start right at home and show we can overcome our differences and heal conflicts," said board chairman Margaret Rogers, in an interview before Annual Meeting. "If you can heal what's going on in the church, that begins to ripple out into society."

Phinney is new church president

The board appointed as president of the church Allison Phinney, a former senior editor of the church's periodicals.

Mr. Phinney, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher from Boston, is "well-known and loved by many of you for his many years of contributions to the periodicals," Mrs. Rogers said upon announcing his appointment Monday. His "clear, deep spiritual writing has blessed our field immensely," she said.

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