Annual EI Conference
November 3, 2005
Short summary: FABULOUS !
Long detailed version because it was so good I wanted to Tell it All:
From its inception, Emergence, International has always been a
gay-straight alliance defining itself as a worldwide community of
Christian Scientists who support gay people as they deal with homophobia
and heterosexism. EI has always attracted creative, artistic,
open-minded, joyful people.
[ Some definitions of "gay" include artistic, talented, creative,
colorful, joyful. If as a young child, Mum hurried you past the toy
department, and you spotted the big box of crayons swooning over the
bright yellows, the earth tones of sepia, ochre, and burnt umber, the
fabulous fuchsia; and wanted more than anything to be gifted with those
colors, you probably didn't realize it at the time, but you surely had
the precocious tendency to creativity ! You preferred plain paper to
coloring books; put jazzy borders around your drawings, hung your
pictures in your "studio" and invited everyone to The Opening! On
coloring book pages you colored outside the lines because it was so much
more imaginative and energetic. ]
Well… EI has always colored outside the lines! A billboard in
Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood advertises:
GAY BINGO! LIKE NORMAL BINGO ONLY MORE FUN!
Seeing that billboard, I thought I want one that reads:
EMERGENCE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES: LIKE NORMAL CHRISTIAN SCIENCE ASSOCIATIONS ONLY MORE FUN!
This year's conference in Tempe,
Arizona was another amazing gathering. Re-united with long-time friends
and meeting new members, we were also joined by 6 practitioners. As
with other EI conferences, we met Thursday evening through Sunday noon;
we enjoyed smiles and hugs and funny stories and hilarious antics; we
shared good food and loving fellowship; but most importantly we feasted
on deeply inspiring metaphysics. The focus of this year's conference
was BECOMING MORE EFFECTIVE HEALERS.
Philadelphia Welz' sharing of "Being Witness to Healing in Our
Lives" was both a presentation and a discussion forum on a statement by
Mary Baker Eddy archived in the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C.,
copyrighted on January 19, 1886. In this piece, we savored fresh
insights into our Leader's revelation that man is the expression of
Mind, that body is "…the aggregation of spiritual ideas, forever
controlled and governed by the law of Life, harmonious and eternal,"
and "There is no condition in substance, for substance is God." Mrs.
Eddy's assertion that when people thought the earth was flat, they lived
as if it were flat. But that didn't flatten the earth! It was what it
was no matter what people thought. Likewise, [ an ] "inharmonious
belief does not create an inharmonious condition." "In treating
yourself," Mrs. Eddy wrote, " never deal with appearances or functions.
Infinite substance, power, intelligence and activity are in that place
and do not need your suggestions." … "Stop trying to think God into
manifestation. God is manifest now." TRUTH revealed! Our discussion:
More effective healing through Christian Science.
Hugh Key's sharing of "Healing Through Impersonation of the
God-Crowned Woman" reminded me of what is taught in acting classes;
that one effective way to convey a character is to impersonate the
essence of that character by exploring and reflecting on the history of
that person. Examining that character's opinions, observing his
gestures, simulating his bearing. Pondering his ideas. Practicing
his actions. Living that character's very being. Then one can do this
on stage! How does this apply to us, to our becoming more effective
healers? We watch. We listen. We act as if.
As students of Christian Science, we admire and respect Mrs. Eddy. But
how do we honor her? By learning from her experiences and following
her example. Through her writings and those of her students we know
that she experienced painful trials and devastating setbacks. But Mrs.
Eddy understood: "It matters not what be thy lot, so Love doth
guide." As she supervised her faithful household and her dedicated
staff she humbly prayed for guidance: "Shepherd, show me how to go
o'er the hillside steep…" She listened intently as she recorded
her revelation. As she studied and pondered Christian Science, Mrs.
Eddy expressed The God-Crowned Woman: She was unswerving! resolute!
courageous! indomitable! regal! She KNEW the truth. She lived it!
Like Jesus, she was a feminist and a peace activist. She revealed that
in Science man is God-endowed with inalienable rights. She was not
silent on these issues; she addressed the equality of all peoples, the
injustice of slavery of all kinds.
Let us emulate Mrs.Eddy's courage, her dignity, her steadfastness.
When we look into the mirror each morning, let us see the perfect,
vigorous, healthy, beautiful Child of God. Adorable one! As we go
about our everyday lives, let us express humility and peace. Christian
Scientists do not battle; they reign. ALL HARMONIOUS! NO WAR! GOD
GOVERNS. Let us impersonate — act as if — until it comes easily,
automatically, naturally, in every way — impersonate — BE — the
perfect child of God, live the Brotherhood of All Mankind, countenance
the God-Crowned Woman.
In "Discovering the World of CSDirectory.com" Mark and Marilyn
Mohlenbrock shared their enterprise as we got educated about how we
could navigate the mysterious world of cyberspace with and amongst
Christian Scientists. We learned that the directory is facilitating :
- people reading Christian Science literature over the telephone to grateful listeners
- conversation and a sharing forum for Sunday School teachers;
- a listing of Christian Science practitioners, nurses, and teachers
- online weekly research on the C.S. Bible Lesson
- online discussion forums and eMail Bible Study Groups
- hundreds of links to C.S. related web sites
- a 24/7 internet radio station playing music of contemporary Christian Science artists
- and much, much more! WOW!
"Open the Doors of the Temple", based on a book of this title written by
Nancy Niblack Baxter, was presented by Longtime EI
member Robert Mackenroth. The gregarious and multi-talented "Dolphin"
(Bob's stage name) started his talk with song and dance — unaccompanied
— including his own colorful composition, "Bloomingdale Blues." Bob
then reviewed critical points in the book: Ms. Baxter's concern about
"do or die" "healing" — rigidly, insistently, willfully refusing materia medica of any kind — advising
some to reject common sense or loving human footsteps and condemning
those who turn to them temporarily. Some view these students of
Science, including those in high positions at the Mother Church, as
inflexible stern and spartan spearheading an almost cult level of
adherence to this way of practice. And this in an age when insights and
research in the material sciences confirm MBE's spiritual discoveries.
An aspect of this austerity — poverty of perspective — is evident in
the cold impersonal and unwelcoming C.S. church edifices which used to
be packed with eager joyful and welcoming members, now nearly empty and
closing one after another. Many nods of agreement! After humiliating
and crushing experiences at C.S. churches, Bob prefers discussing God
one-on-one with people wherever he can engage an inquisitive mind,
including at work with show people in New York City.
In "Telling Your Story" Kerry Shuey and Tim Becker from Tampa Bay,
Florida shared how their coming out as a gay Christian Science couple
has brought together a whole new group of friends who have formed a
Christian Science Society in the Tampa Bay area. The members'
dedication to the idea that All are Worthy of The Kingdom of Heaven has
resulted in much fruitage — vigorous growth in numbers attending
services, new members, novel and effective ideas for sharing Science
and Health with locals in the Tampa area, inspiring healings and
harmonious relationships. Truly the harvest is plenty but the laborers
On Saturday afternoon we had free time. Some explored the famous
University Botanical Gardens, some toured the Phoenix / Scottsdale
area, including a Frank Lloyd Wright home, and some joined friends
sharing more ideas generated by the presentations and on-going
testimonies of healing. Some enjoyed the swimming pool surrounded by
swaying palm trees and soaked in the sunshine. A gardener pointed out
that palm trees like their feet in water and their heads in the sun…
Well, there we were in Tempe, Arizona, with palm trees all around us,
standing, or under-standing, bathed in Spirit, baptized in the living
waters of Life and Love. And witnessing the Light of Truth, our spirits
soaring throughout the entire conference! Blissful would not be
overstating our exalted thinking!
One of the many activities I'm still smiling about was described on our
schedule as "Surprise Hymn Sing." We entered Deane's house to
CHRISTMAS music lauding "Blest Christmas morn…" Who but a gaggle of
gay Christian Scientists would spend their Saturday night singing hymns
??? Deane's and Jay's delicious flourishes and subtle musical nuances
on the pipe organ in Deane's home [ yes you read right, a real pipe
organ! ] were divine! Jay our choir director [ an aside here: oh to
have a teacher like him! I'd audition for him in a minute if I lived
closer to San Francisco ] taught us more about our excellent and unique
hymnal. We harmonized and we crooned ! Requests were sounded on the
last note of every hymn! We'd have sung all night if our bus hadn't
pulled up to take us back to our hotel.
Who would ever think that a group as UN-traditional as EI would
cherish and celebrate its traditions as we do, may we even say,
faithfully? Many EI members study the Boston Bible lesson while
others pursue their metaphysics independently or attend other
churches. But at EI Conferences, members count on this: the Sunday
service will be original, singular and inspiring. This year the subject presented by Susan Ambrosius,
First Reader, and her partner Linda Rohrs, Second Reader, was LOVE.
The Golden Text summed it up: "Ye are all the children of
light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of
darkness." ( I Thessalonians 5: 5) Traditional: Scriptures from
KJV Bible. Untraditional: Correlative passages for all four sections
taken from writings of students of Christian Science including Mary
- Section I: Daniel's vision, the rainbow, trust in God;
John Hargreaves: The only reality is spiritual; if we are seeing
anything but perfection, this doesn't change anything: it's still
- Section II: Ruth and Naomi; Doris Henty: Harmony and
abundance are our natural everyday experience. It can't be otherwise!
- Section III: Jonathan and David [ how many years has Boston avoided
using this moving story? ] ; Clarence Steves: The Universe of Love in which there are no persons
seeking person but spiritual ideas in immortal joyous unison.
- Section IV: Light of the World: what shall we do to inherit eternal
life? MBE: Love is the liberator. "…I am the blessed legal child
of God." Ye are a chosen people: heal. Live Christian Science.
[Note: The entire lesson is posted here on our site for study.
Check it out! ]
After the service we closed the conference with our traditional Circle
of Love. Saying good-bye with big smiles and affectionate bear hugs, we
were peaceful, grateful, joyous. Neither Greek nor Jew, gay nor
straight, we departed knowing better than ever that "The time for
thinkers has come," to "be a law unto ourselves," and to go out and
live Christian Science as confident more effective healers. To Be Our True Selves, to be
Thanks so much to our team in Phoenix — a superb location
Deane, Ed, and Beau, for such a