Church tells of expanded media, legal challenges
Church officials at the 93rd annual meeting of the Church of Christ, Scientist, affirmed the denomination's historical commitment to spiritual healing and emphasized the context of love and responsibility in which it continues to be practiced. The church's expansion of The Christian Science Monitor, including the launching this fall of a daily televised edition of ``Monitor NewsWorld'' and the September start-up of a new monthly magazine, World Monitor, were also discussed.
In the wake of legal challenges to the practice of Christian healing, incoming board chairman John Lewis Selover addressed the practicality of New Testament healing in modern times. He noted that the healing record of Christian Science extends throughout the past century and underlies the willingness of legislatures over the decades to accommodate the practice of spiritual healing.
Public policy regarding healing, Mr. Selover said, always needs to be approached with fairness and thoughtfulness on all sides. But it is not sound policy, he added, ``to unthinkingly rule out a responsible, Christian approach to spiritual healing'' - one that has meant so much and has brought so much healing to the lives of thousands of Christian Scientists and their families.
Virginia Harris, clerk of The Mother Church, also reported the continuing evidence of healing in members' lives. Among the recent testimonies of healing received by the church were those of heart problems, impaired hearing, cancer, drug addiction, arthritis, and stroke. She spoke of the ongoing importance of effective healing in light of the church's outreach to the world.
She also announced that a series of meetings for college-age people will be held in several locations around the United States and overseas during the coming year.
Committee on Publication manager Nathan Talbot noted that several Christian Science parents are facing prosecution ``for having relied upon Christian Science care and treatment'' for their children. ``Perhaps the irony of these prosecutions,'' Mr. Talbot said, ``lies in the fact that one of the most significant contributions Christian Science has made to society has been its healing of children.''
``It seems especially vital that society look beyond the assumption that there is only one credible method of care - conventional medical treatment,'' Talbot added. ``After all, many Christian Science families found their way to spiritual healing only after being given up by traditional medicine.''
He noted the importance of having a choice when there are intelligent alternatives, stressing the common ground Christian Scientists and the rest of society share in determining the care they choose for their children - that of parental love.
``Like other parents,'' Talbot said, ``Christian Scientists want only the best possible care for their children.''
Those attending the two-hour meeting also heard reports from other church officers, managers, and Christian Scientists around the world.
This year, one report told how a church in Cairo, after offering a job to a refugee, soon found itself ``full of refugees'' - and out of money. ``Like Solomon,'' the church reported, ``our members asked for wisdom in how to deal with `this thy so great a people.'''
Praying to see each person, not as a refugee, but as ``a child of God,'' the members of the church were able to continue to help and to heal those who came. One individual was healed of malaria, others found needed work, shelter, and a lessening of fear.
John Hoagland, the manager of the Christian Science Publishing Society, highlighted the year's progress, including the publishing of the prototype edition of the magazine, World Monitor, and the organization of the daily edition of ``Monitor NewsWorld,'' which will begin broadcasting in the fall with former NBC correspondent John Hart as anchor. Mr. Hoagland also mentioned the marked interest in the shortwave broadcasts of The Herald of Christian Science.
Robert MacKusick, chairman of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, announced that this year church lecturers will be appointed to give talks in particular regions around the world.
Branch churches will be able to respond promptly to specific community needs by calling upon these lecturers.
Michael Thorneloe, who is leaving as a member of the church's Board of Directors, has been appointed ``Circuit Lecturer'' of The Mother Church and for now will concentrate his work in the United States, Canada, Britain, and Ireland.
Church treasurer Donald Bowersock reported on the denomination's financial condition. He commented on the continuing need for members' support for the expanding worldwide activities of The Mother Church.
The new president of The Mother Church, Mrs. Pearline Thompson of Washington, D.C., brings to the one-year post long service in the denomination's healing and lecturing activities.