Annual Meeting; Christian Scientists urged to seek spiritual freedom
Boston — The dangers in today's world must be matched with increasing spirituality based on historic Christian precepts, several thousand Christian Scientists were told here June 7.
In a keynote message, Michael B. Thorneloe appealed to those attending the Annual Meeting of members of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, to find ''the freedom which comes from obeying, in every aspect of life, the moral and spiritual demands of Christianity.''
Mr. Thorneloe is incoming Chairman of The Christian Science Board of Directors. He will serve in that capacity during the 1982-83 church year.
''We face threats of conflict and the brutality of conflict,'' he acknowledged. ''There is a great yearning throughout the world for the elimination of nuclear dangers. The only answer to this yearning,'' he said, ''comes from an understanding of God and divine power. It unfailingly guides thought and action toward solutions not yet seen.''
Hal M. Friesen, Board Chairman for 1981-82, also emphasized the theme of spiritual freedom. Christian Scientists, he said, recognize liberty ''as an integral aspect of man's relationship to his creator.''
Mr. Friesen said the effort to bring spiritual values into experience ''frees us from bondage to hate, suspicion, fear. It releases in our lives a more spontaneous outpouring of such Christly qualities as spiritual perception, tenderness, and unselfed love. Preoccupation with getting,'' he said, ''gives way to giving, to sharing.''
''Christendom has its work cut out for it--let there be no doubt about that, '' concluded Mr. Thorneloe. ''And Christian Scientists must do their part with courage, wisdom, and much love. And isn't this what freedom is all about!''
Named President of The Mother Church for 1982-83 was Dorothy E. Klein, a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science from Boston. In her remarks to the meeting, Miss Klein observed that the challenge of materialism ''reaches deeply into the lives of every one of us. Was it ever more imperative,'' she asked, ''to cherish our spirituality, to guard our individual integrity of thought?''
Reports were also given at the Monday afternoon meeting on the denomination's publishing, membership, financial, and informational activities.
Many of the 56 countries in which branch Christian Science churches are located were represented at this year's Annual Meeting, the denomination's 87th. The overall theme for the meeting plus three related inspirational meetings is ''The glorious liberty of God's children.'' One of these meetings was held Monday evening at 7:30; two others are scheduled for today at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
* The report of the Board of Trustees of The Christian Science Publishing Society, presented by Board Chairman Frederic C. Owen, noted that despite continuing high publishing costs, the church's religious periodicals and its international daily newspaper continue to meet worldwide needs.
These publications, said Mr. Owen, ''put forth a call for freedom from fear. From lack. From spiritual ignorance. Freedom from physical limitation, mental slavery - the bondage of immorality. They present concepts that become a foundation for a new man and a new world.''
''We are seeing much wider secondary use of Monitor material in other publications and media. Our print syndication now appears in 206 newspapers, and Monitor stories in these newspapers reach a combined readership of 30 million. Our radio syndication is up to 311 stations in this country and abroad,'' he reported. ''In addition, information from our paper is supplied electronically to home and office computers across the country. We are presently testing television programs as a secondary use of the Monitor's coverage of significant news developments.''
* Ruth Elizabeth Jenks, Clerk of The Mother Church, reported that church members ''ready to devote their full time to the public practice of Christian Science this year represent 14 different countries. The testimonies of their healing work,'' said Mrs. Jenks, ''submitted in behalf of their applications prove that the practical understanding of the theology of the Science of the Christ blesses and heals as it did in Jesus' time.''
Mrs. Jenks announced also that a three-day international meeting of Christian Scientists from colleges and universities around the world would be held in Boston Aug. 2-4.
* Church Treasurer Michael West reported continuing support for the special endowment fund established four years ago to benefit The Christian Science Monitor.
Regarding overall church economies, Mr. West said, ''We haven't spent all we budgeted for the past year, and we haven't let inflation eat us up. All departments are dedicated to scrutinizing their costs in the knowledge that economizing does not imply a sense of limitation.''
(Mr. Friesen earlier reported that the church was totally free of debt.)
* A. W. Phinney, Manager, Committees on Publication, reported a great range of public comments on Christian Science during the past year.
''World thought,'' he pointed out, ''seems to act and react--sometimes ignorantly, sometimes maliciously, and sometimes yielding or coming out from the world and following Christ, as in Jesus' time. Without this larger, spiritual perspective,'' he said, ''we misinterpret what's going on. Fear, irritation, concern indicate that our perspective is too small.''
Mr. Phinney cited the new permanent Bible Exhibit at the Christian Science Center (''A Light Unto My Path'') as a successful ''sharing of a message of light and inspiration with many.''