I desire the equal growth and prosperity of ALL Christian Scientists, and the world in general; each and every one has equal opportunity to be benefited by my thoughts and writings.
Mary Baker Eddy
Miscellaneous Writings 291:12
There are two themes that ring out clearly from the hundreds — actually thousands — of stories I have read this month: first, that we all deeply desire to be known and loved by our Creator God, and second, that we all desperately need to know that the people we are closest to, our families and friends, love us just because we breathe. Pretty simple, right?
For what it may be worth to you – I am a Journal listed CS practitioner, When my son, my only child, came out as gay a number of years ago, I did not ask God to change him; I asked God to change me – to open my eyes and heart wide enough to not lose sight of all that really matters and to all that is real and true about my son as His whole and holy ideal. So I have always been free to happily love my son with all my heart, And he loves me, too.
-Barbara, CS from AZ
christianscience.com – Church Alive Blog
I want to express my gratitude for the Midwest Church Alive Summit 2014.
I contacted the Emergence International Board of Directors prior to the summit for permission to represent Emergence International as their President, which was unanimously approved and supported.
I found the summit to be focused on prayer and brotherly love as Church Universal seemed to be one theme that includes people of “different cultures, interests, and backgrounds”.
The President of TMC, Bosede Bakarey, did a great job getting everyone awake and alert in the morning session. Thank you, Bosede.
We were asked in the small breakout groups from the morning session what we were looking for in Church also known as The structure of Truth and Love.
One theme discovered from this exercise was a want or need for “fellowship” with others. One person even gave an example of why her own branch church recently closed. She stated: because we focused on us and not on our community.
A former question was read from Mrs. Eddy who once asked: Which is more important, to be the best Christian on earth or to have the best edifice?
What awakened and alerted me to be responsive was when a person was selected to share their own story of helping others by serving as a youth minister for a different denomination. This person stated they could understand how it feels to be left out at times or afraid of being judged simply for being a student of Christian Science. I am sure from listening that this person was a good Sunday school student.
But my thought at that exact moment was too bad we didn’t have anybody there to go a little deeper and speak from the heart and off the cuff on behalf of gays and lesbians.
There was a need to hear that LGBT people should be treated equally and loved unconditionally regardless of their sexual orientation or how they define their gender.
The audience was then asked to get out of their comfort zone and encouraged to step up in a supportive and safe atmosphere with approximately 800-1000 people in attendance to ask a question or share a story of how they are sharing and reaching out to their own community beyond just busy, church work.
Thus I approached the microphone where my name badge had to be double-checked because I made my own for the conference with the Emergence International logo and LGBT Christian Scientists in BOLD along with my name.
Fortunately, I had their “approved badge” along with it so I was given the “green light” to proceed after whispers were exchanged with each of the panel moderators at the front of the ballroom.
So I spoke up and shared my experience as a crisis intervention and suicide prevention counselor for LGBT youth. Some of who were coming into the awareness of their sexuality and were contemplating ending their life due to their fear of family and religious rejection. This had led some of them right into self-rejection.
I also shared these two themes that ring out clearly which I found to be true in my own research.
“First, that we ALL deeply desire to be known and loved by our Creator God, and second, that we ALL desperately need to know that the people we are closest to, our families and friends, love us just because we breath.”
So how does Christian Science tie in with suicide prevention?
Christian Science is HOPE that is alive and healing.
HOPE is the major weapon against suicide.
Further, I discussed how Emergence International is sharing this message of HOPE with the LGBT community by putting in a plug for Our Daily Bread on our website (www.emergence-international.org).
I expressed gratitude for all the people who supported it or allowed their articles, poems or testimonies to be posted.
I concluded my live comments that HOPE should include ALL Mankind.
What followed next moved me to the core and I wanted to express gratitude. Thank you all from the deepest part of me.
Immediately after and throughout the rest of the day I was approached over and over by people who thanked me for having the moral courage to stand up and speak out. This included C.Ss, C.S.B.s, faculty from Principia or straight allies.
Many people even shared stories of family members and friends who were gay or lesbian or that they them-self were gay or lesbian. They were all hungry to hear some type of message that God loves everybody regardless of their sexuality and that we are all were equal in the eyes of God and this opened up the discussion.
But I was also saddened as I listened to some heart breaking stories. For example: one woman, who is now a student of Christian Science, stated she had a gay brother who died of AIDs years ago and that their own father would not attend his funeral.
There were also stories shared of gays and lesbians touched by suicide because of family and religious rejection.
Several parents shared stories of how their LGBT children left Christian Science all together because they were made to feel unwelcome. It was agreed that those articles on JSH Online that are anti-gay should be removed as they can be dangerous to those struggling with their sexuality. I saw the pain on one mother’s face as we discussed those articles written from personal sense.
We have even learned since from discussions that some of the authors of those articles were told or asked to write them by the Church at the time.
Special thanks to all of you who shared positive comments as straight allies too. We are on the right side of history and love is ever with us.
One Journal listed CS, who is gay friendly and a straight ally, emailed the following comments after the Summit: I know there is more progress to be made, but we can feel so grateful that the Truth is winning and the way is opening to the revelation of the perfect day—the one that is already here, just obscured by a belief that there is another power but Love.
Next, the afternoon session on “Retaining Our youth”, where 20’s and 30’s gave examples of what church means to them, had a representative from the panel, Sean, state that church should include gays and lesbians.
Finally, in one of the afternoon workshops conducted by Mike Davis (Senior Researcher, Mary Baker Eddy Library) and Mike Warrick, it was stated that there is nothing in Mrs. Eddy’s writings condemning gays and lesbians or as a reason to not allow them equal rights to be benefited by her thoughts and writings. A couple people tried to bring in some examples from S&H as examples of something anti-gay. But these were also debunked.
I’ll conclude this executive summary with the following statement I shared in the afternoon session, along with an additional thought, on the “Leaven of Truth at Work” with David K. Clark, PhD; Maryl Walters, CSB; and COP manager from the great state of Illinois – Tim Mitchinson, CSB.
As the chair of the department of psychiatry, 3 hospital system, once told me: I have patients who are at a level of despair that I cannot reach as we don’t have a pill for HOPE.
Christian Science is Hope that is alive and healing.
Never take away somebody’s HOPE as it may be all they have!
Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL mankind.
President – Emergence International