Finding Purpose – Annual Conference 2004

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Annual EI Conference
October 14, 2004

Providence, Rhode Island. Fall foliage in New England! Beaches and
sailboats and breakers! Mansions! A gay mayor! And Best of all: the
Emergence International 2004 Conference!

The Keynote Address

More a workshop than an address, Kathleen Clementson’s presentation was
an exercise in and reminder of LOVE as The Way-shower. In a letter to
EI (published in the September 2004 issue of The In Between Times) our keynote speaker included inspiring passages
for us to study in preparation for her message: COMMITMENT TO
LOVE. From our Master’s injunction (Matthew 10:8 ) and Mrs. Eddy’s
example to Heal the Sick, Cleanse the Lepers, Raise the Dead, Cast out
Demons, we are all commanded to heal. Just to heal! That’s all!
To heal, to BE Healing. And to do this, we must BE Whole. We must BE
LOVE. To love, unconditionally — no resentments, no bitterness, no
hostility, no animosity, no antagonism, no pique, no anger, no
rancor. Feed the famished affections! Just love — unapologetically!
This includes loving who we are; spending time with people who bring
out the best in us. Love embracing itself is always embracing. Our
highest sense of right is self-forgetfulness as constant prayer. This
brings us home to Love.

"This is the point of healing," she said, "being at one with God." And
"when you honor your true being — this brings you home." Home — “the
dearest spot on earth,” is power (Science and Health, p. 58:21). From a poem she
shared with us, LOVE WILL BE OUR HOME, the last verse: “Where there are
words of kindness spoken, where a vow is never broken, we can live
together there. Love will be our home. Love will be our home. “

Kathleen spoke buoyantly, a huge smile on her face, kindness and
sweetness in her heart, not a hint of anger at her recent experience
with the Board of Directors of The Mother Church. When asked by a
student, "Why isn't the [Christian Science] movement growing?" the answer was given: “If
you’re not attractive, you won’t attract.” Unconditional love draws
people. It’s not our job to humanly fix The Mother Church. The real vow, Truth, can
never be broken, is always whole, pure and free. Science marches on!
(Science and Health, p. 225:8)

The Accidental Picnic

One of our members, Hugh Key, gave a brilliant talk on "The
Accidental Picnic", a play he is writing about an encounter Mary Baker
Eddy might have with Adam Dickie, Allen McClain Hamilton, Carl Jung,
and Sigmond Freud. Fascinating historical and scholarly references,
intriguing comparisons,
“coincidences,” and conclusions. A contributor who was journaling on
the hotel's computer during session breaks wrote: “[Mary Baker Eddy]
agreed with Freud that the human mind was completely corrupted but she
went on of course to give us Science where she completely denied the
existence of a human mind. There is no impediment or stumbling block,
no mortal mind good or bad. Now this is paraphrased of course but as he
spoke I began to clearly see that there is nothing stopping me from
demonstrating one Mind nothing nothing nothing. Then it came clear to
me: only fear can stop me from realizing my at-one-ment with God.”

About Providence

Making all our maps, tourist guides and brochures more meaningful, we
had an interesting talk on the history of Providence. Providence has a
gay mayor, a beautiful and historic downtown, a great Gay Pride
festival, many Rainbow Family picnics and outings — a large and diverse
community.

Excursion to the North

Saturday was gloriously autumnal with fiery foliage, brilliant sunshine,
and crisp fall air for our bus trip to Boston. We toured The Mother
Church and heard the famous, historic organ. We didn't let the Church
off the hook — several members asked questions relevant to the GLBT community, but our guide
was lovely, unflappable — so understanding of our legitimacy, of the
inclusion of gays in many churches worldwide, of our true inheritance as
sons and daughters of God. We toured the new Mary Baker Eddy Library including the
fascinating "Hall of Ideas", the "Mapparium", and the reference rooms and
stacks. In the afternoon we visited the Longyear
Museum
which is chock full of historic objects and displays which
put Mrs.Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science in an inspiring perspective.
In the portrait gallery, a pianist was rehearsing for a concert she was
to be giving the following day — Splendid!

Smiles and Hugs

An uproariously funny movie Friday night, a hymn sing Saturday night, a
service and testimony meeting Sunday. Wonderful meals prepared and
served by the eager Hospitality and Tourism students from Johnson and Wales University!
Highlights: Seeing old friends, meeting new members, sharing
metaphysical insights, finding purpose and growth in every experience — especially the smiles and hugs.

Thanks to everyone who made the conference a
success!