Christian Scientists gather for annual meeting

Speakers at the 92nd annual meeting of Christian Scientists Monday focused on several topics, including Christian healing, new broadcasting efforts, and ``a spiritual urgency'' as mankind stands at ``the crossroads.'' The denomination's Mother Church was filled to capacity with members from around the world as the chairman of the church's Board of Directors, other church officers, and adherents from a number of countries addressed the congregation.

Highlights of the meeting included:

``Reports from the field,'' a traditional aspect of each annual meeting, which this year included accounts of spiritual healing from Kansas, India, Florida, and Cameroon, as well as accounts of Sunday School and church progress from Ohio and Portugal.

Progress reports on expanding broadcasting efforts, including a newly established international shortwave radio network.

A closing address by the chairman of the Board of Directors, who spoke of the church's larger mission and the continuing and urgent demand ``to be effective in addressing the needs of mankind.''

Portions of the meeting focused on ways in which the Christian Science Publishing Society's new broadcasting activities were furthering the church's healing mission.

Publishing Society manager John H. Hoagland Jr., referring recently to the church's flagship publication, The Christian Science Monitor in both its print and broadcast forms, noted: ``The Monitor's role in the last of this century has to be defined globally.'' The sharing of news and religious programming with listeners in Europe, the western Soviet Union, the Middle East, and most of Africa has been made possible by the recently completed construction of a shortwave transmitting site in Maine.

A transmitter in Saipan is expected to cover much of Asia, the South Pacific, and eastern Africa. A third transmitter in the southern United States will serve the Western Hemisphere.

Reports from Christian Scientists outside Boston ranged broadly - from a Florida adherent who first began studying Christian Science in 1910 to an 11-year-old boy from India who was healed through prayer of a serious liver ailment that had not responded to conventional treatment.

The clerk of The Mother Church, Virginia S. Harris, announced two new programs for young people: ``Sharing Seminars,'' a forum for Christian Science College Organizations to share insights with teen-agers at local Sunday Schools; and a 30-minute video for teens, by teens speaking about how their understanding of God relates to issues uppermost in their lives.

Church treasurer Donald C. Bowersock offered a special word of thanks for members' support during the past year. He noted that even after increased costs in 1986-87, including $25 million for broadcasting activities and facilities, the church's overall working funds were up nearly 9 percent. Increased expenses, he noted, ``were investments that have been made directly to enhance our ability to reach all mankind - to reach the hungering heart - more effectively.''

Nathan A. Talbot, manager of the Committee on Publication, centered his remarks on widespread public interest in the church's founder, Mary Baker Eddy.

The interest is varied, he noted - while sometimes balanced, at other times tending to either ``tear down or build up her personality.'' His office has made a focused effort over the past year, he pointed out, to offer historically accurate information to newspapers, encyclopedias, and theological journals, among others.

Ruth Elizabeth Jenks, chairman of the Board of Directors, pointed to ``the spiritual urgency of the moment.''

Each individual church member has a role to play in meeting the needs of one's fellowman, Mrs. Jenks noted. ``Now lest one be tempted to think that the problems of the world loom so large and one's own ability seems so feeble that he'd rather stand on the sidelines, remember the biblical account of Jesus' sending out his 70 disciples.'' What is needed today, she said, ``is the same willingness to be counted as a disciple and to be a ready witness to the power and presence of the Christ.''

Charles W. Ferris, a Christian Science practitioner, teacher, and lecturer from Minneapolis, was named to the one-year post of church president.

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