Christian Scientists gather in Boston for annual meeting

Christian Scientists' publishing efforts -- including print and broadcasting -- were among the activities outlined at the denomination's annual meeting in Boston yesterday. Speaking to about 3,500 people gathered in the historic Mother Church in the city's Back Bay, John H. Hoagland Jr., manager of The Christian Science Publishing Society, brought members up to date on the church's publications.

Focusing on The Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Hoagland noted circulation and advertising had risen in the past year. New Monitor broadcasting activities, including a weekly program in Western Europe and a daily program in New England, join MonitoRadio -- a weekly one-hour news and commentary broadcast launched last year in cooperation with American Public Radio.

Other speakers included church Treasurer Donald C. Bowersock, who thanked members and friends for their contributions. Donations, he reported, met the church's operating expenses and special projects, such as last December's worldwide videoconference. They also made possible significant church contributions to drought victims in Africa as well as toward special needs in South America and the Far East.

Stepping into the one-year post of church president, Robert H. Mitchell of Edinburgh spoke of ``the many challenges facing mankind today,'' which ``force us to turn from material perceptions . . . to the motivating force that is already at hand -- the dynamic power of God and his Christ.''

Beulah M. Roegge, clerk of The Mother Church, reported on current workshops for Christian Science practitioners. At gatherings in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Africa, and the United States, ``we are finding great commitment to genuine healing and regenerating work as practiced by our Master, Christ Jesus,'' Mrs. Roegge said.

The manager of Committees on Publication, Nathan A. Talbot, spoke of requests from encyclopedias and medical journals for articles on Christian Science.

He also candidly discussed recent publicity linking Christian healing as practiced by Christian Scientists with ``child neglect.'' Members' century-long record of healing, their love and care for their children, Mr. Talbot said, is invaluable in breaking down stereotypes of Christian healing as being ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.

``To the extent that we are willing to live in a way that encourages spiritual growth,'' Talbot said, this not only constitutes progress for Christian Scientists, but also supports the spiritual progress of mankind as a whole.

In concluding remarks, Hal M. Friesen, chairman of the church's board of directors, asked, ``Where does the church go from here?''

Progress ``can only come through individual spiritual growth,'' he continued. ``We need living proof, not just profession.''

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