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Christian Scientists stage global TV meeting on outreach plans

By a staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / September 25, 1987



Boston

Challenging universal indifference was the theme of a unique global meeting sponsored by the Christian Science Church. The event, uniting members and others at more than 500 sites throughout the world via television satellite, was scheduled to take place Thursday after this paper's press time. Its aim was to reinforce the mission of the Boston-based Church of Christ, Scientist, to ``embrace all mankind'' - reaching out to the sick, anguished, and needy with spiritual solutions to their problems.

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The meeting focused on the preparation and presentation of public lectures on Christian Science. Participants from branch churches around the globe were urged to focus less on the form and structure of lectures and more on their healing message.

Ruth Elizabeth Jenks, chairman of the Christian Science Board of Directors, pointed out that Christians show their love for God by showing their love for man. ``The face of this church is turning more and more to a world in need,'' Mrs. Jenks said.

Another board member, Harvey Wood, stressed that Christian history is ``full of examples of people turning to other people.'' He made special references to the biblical account of Jesus' disciples Peter and John healing the lame man, and to the recorded healing of a neighbor who was ``not expected to live the night'' by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science.

``Peter was not indifferent to the lame man's need,'' said Mr. Wood, ``so people could not be indifferent to his message.''

The Christian Science Church, through its branches and societies, offers some 3,000 religious lectures a year. Its members are now being asked to reconsider the form and channels for these talks to better meet community needs.

The use of videos and other electronic means to convey these messages is being explored by church officials. Also efforts are being made to forge a stronger link between reading rooms, branch churches, The Christian Science Monitor and its radio and television broadcasting services, and the general public.

The Rev. William Fore, an official of the National Council of Churches - and a specialist in media relations - said in an interview with Mr. Wood that it was vital for churches to utilize various forms of visual and listening outlets, such as videocassettes, cable TV, and ``narrowcasts'' (targeted toward specific audiences), to convey their messages.

``But it's important not to let television use us,'' Dr. Fore stressed.

In the past two years, the Christian Science Church and The Christian Science Monitor have used television satellite links to present discussions on world peace.

A satellite linkup was also used for a college campus-based program on problems in the third world.

This latest linkup on Thursday evening was described by the church as one of the largest and most complex private satellite television networks ever assembled.