Summit Fruitage

by Sue Krevitt in Santa Cruz

Recently I was included in a Post-Summit meeting of sixteen Christian Scientists–wonderful folks eager to give-and-receive fresh and enlightening ideas on the topic of church–an important subject in all our hearts. There were Journal-listed practitioners, budding practitioners, a CS Teacher… all solid thinkers and doers in our movement, in this ‘place of thought’ called Northern California Church Alive!

With such pure motives, such love and desire to be all we can be in the world, expressing Mind/Life/Truth/Love, the results of this meeting (and other such gatherings going on around this globe) are, and have to be, nothing but GOOD!

I’m offering some thoughts on the topic “Let’s Share More NCCA Summit Fruitage!”

Question: Do I feel that the Northern California Church Alive Summit has brought me closer to my Goal: discovering more of my own (and others’) connection to God?

Lively singingAnswer: Yes.  My prayerful request had been:  Put me in an atmosphere alive with conversation/discussion/idea-flow/ livelymusic/ singing/ sharing/ food/ fun/ art/even dancing!  Help me find out what church can be…expanded waay out … to bring me to a larger place in thought to what church can be, perhaps is, in fact.  My prayers were answered at the summit!  It was all this and more.

Over this past year, my branch church has benefited by the light received at the Summit…the six of us who went are quietly–so far–sharing some of what we got, what changes/improvements/new ways we see might be well-received by our church family/community. These ideas are being prayerfully considered, some implemented (our business meetings are now in the SS, in a circle–more like a family circle than facing-backs-formal).  We’ve used our main auditorium piano instead of the organ a few times.  We are planning a Summit-Sharing Meeting soon, with light refreshments, videos, etc., and possibly asking some who attended the Summit to be presenters. One attendee told me she felt “transformed” by the Summit weekend!


Question: Why did I need 700 other people (Summit attendees) to help me feel more of my (and others’) connection to God?

Answer: For now, I want the connection and assurance from others that I am on the right track by staying on a spiritual path in this “very material world.”

Question: Why did I take part in the hundreds of emails and phone calls, etc., over 7 months to help host and staff the Summit last May?

SharingAnswer:  Although it was demanding, I have been rewarded with feeling good about using my God-given talents to help out in this way.  I interfaced during the six months planning with 18 of the finest Christian thinkers and doers in our region, was inspired and uplifted by them, and more grateful than ever to be part of the CS movement!  (And others worked much hard than I did, btw.)

Question:  What are some of my reasons to continue being involved with Post-Summit Discussion Groups?

Answer:  Because I/we will continue to need each other for support, for networking, for inspiration and fresh ideas,  for a while yet.  The energy from the Summit is still strong, still vital!  This work is the activity of divine Mind in our midst, the outpouring of Love in this “human realm.”


While God’s provision may not be the biblical loaves and fishes, clearly the sharing and love at the Summit and the Post-Summit meetings, on our website (www.csnorcal.org), in our emails and other conversations are all part of Love’s manna-of-today.   Let’s feast!

I love learning that Truth is not abstract, impractical, ineffectual!  It is solid substance, here-and-now stuff we can use today.

For instance?   Go to www.csnorcal.org…

Here’s great info on how to join in the discussion ~ Re-visit the Summit videos ~ Contribute your ideas and ask your questions ~ Find out how others are renewing church services ~ be a more effective Sunday School teacher… and this site is growing, and will grow with your help!

A Church Liaison Group now forming is to keep our connection going…to bring and get information–like vital fertilizer!—to our church activity. The 77 CS churches and societies in the northern California region are rich resources for cross-pollination!   (At the Summit, we used the analogy of gardening, seed-sowing, weeding, the Tree of Life, roots, etc.  I think this is a great way to illustrate what we are doing, don’t you?)

I send you warm thoughts for ever-increasing joy and healing, as we go forward together on this great pathway of Life.

Learning about Church at Burning Man

Several members of the Church Alive community participated in this year’s Burning Man event in Nevada over Labor Day. Anna Lisa Kronman writes up a beautiful post about her experience of learning about a deeper meaning of “church”. She writes:

Burning Man Foot WashingA unique element of Burning Man is its gift-based, rather than consumer-based economy….
Everyone that comes is expected to give something.  Also part of this culture: extraordinary creativity, art, loud music, a markedly friendly and open/permissive atmosphere, and whimsical clothing (or sometimes none.)

A group of people who love Christian Science felt there was a good reason to be a presence in this city.  We came to wash feet.

We hadn’t specifically set out to “do church” there at Burning Man.  We had planned to lovingly embrace that city of lively seekers by actively seeing their spiritual worthiness as we washed dust from their feet.  What a surprise that in doing so, we discovered we were in the middle of church!

Read her whole post here: http://annalisakronmancs.sharethepractice.org/2013/10/22/surprise-church-at-burning-man/

The Pope’s Challenge: Love over Ideology

By Jason Marsh

I was struck by this video from the Pope, which touches on a theme dear to my heart: focusing on ideology over Love.

It got me thinking about our churches and our services.

What ideology may be pushing people away from our churches? Here’s a few ideas:

– King James Version (old English) solely read from the desk

– Formalism of our Sunday service

– Musical instruments and solos limited to one style of music

– Inflexible membership policies

– Judgementalism around personal health care decisions

Some wouldn’t want to change our stands on these issues, but I think that each of these push people away from our churches. One argument is that we would prefer to push some people away: the purity of the movement is at stake. But really? Isn’t Love in Christian Science more important than the “grave-clothes of the letter?” Do we have the attitude to “…commemorate the word and works of our Master?”

Grass Valley Church Wednesday Dinners

Submitted to the Fellowship Google Group, by Glenda Buda:

A few years ago I was serving as First Reader and I was praying each week as to how  to “be” the Christ in my church community. How could I be a better foot-washer:-)

The Bible reminds us, in several passages, that we each have unique talents to contribute to the greater good. One of my gifts, one of the unique ways that I could express support and love for my community, was in my ability to serve as “hostess.”

I noticed that there were several individuals who had gotten out of the “habit” of coming on Wednesday evenings. Yet, I would see them if it was more of a “social” gathering. My husband and I live about 10 minutes from church, we have a large home that accommodates groups well and hosting comes very naturally to us. So, I offered those natural gifts from God as a way of doing my part to embrace Wednesday Evenings  and as a way to put arms around each person in our church community.

GrassValley Wed dinnerI found that instead of offering an invite way in-advance, it was nice to be a bit more casual and spontaneous and see who could come. Especially being Reader with the joy of listening and planning for the Readings on Wednesday, i allowed for my own flexibility and when it seemed I had “open” space it worked best for me to email the group Sunday night before the Wednesday. I offered to provide the entrée (Lasagna or spaghetti – any hearty dish that can be made ahead…or even frozen, so that the “work” would be kept to a minimum for me as Practitioner and Reader, at the time. I also provided the beverages and then invited the others to fill-in with salads, desserts, fruit, bread and Parmesan cheese:-)

Our Wednesday meetings begin at 7:30 and I found that starting the potluck promptly at 5:30 gives us plenty of time to eat and love on one another:-)

Then about 7:15 (unless someone is serving in church) we all leave for church and have a great sense of oneness of purpose and support.

When I Read, I would leave ahead of everyone else and arrive at church about a half hour or so before the service to quietly set up.

And, just a side note of logistics here…we have a pretty good size membership…so, I divide it up in about thirds…and simply rotate throughout the membership over a period of time…some overlapping occurring each time. I’m kind of formal and have lovely dishes and linens so I invite the amount I can offer chairs for and support in all those recyclable materials-HA!  But, anyone could use plastic and paper. This is just us:-) It’s the Love that counts, NOT the presentation.

Now, what it is doing for the members:

It’s hard to speak for everyone…but the responses are  overwhelmingly heartfelt expressions of feeling cared for, loved, included, united, beloved…more KNOWN…if I can put it that way. The members (and non-members)  feel like a special family.

There’s a greater sense of intimacy that seems to open people up to asking for support, getting them more involved, making them feel more “committed”. They are not just numbers on a roster….this interaction seems to prompt thoughts ( then feelings…feelings come from thoughts, actually:-) of loyalty..not in an obligatory sense ( from the outside) but in a deeply, loving, connected sense from the Christ within. This seems to help prompt a “face-to-face” relationship among church members.

That “face-to-face” is important because it’s in that Christly view –so focused- so “face to face” with God, that we see and feel the Christ among us, within us, as The Holy Ghost. That is the transformation that serves  and heals.

Now, that Holy Ghost is not dependent on food, or human gatherings…but, because The Holy Ghost is actively working among us…it may appear as the call to have a supper together before Wednesday, sometimes:-) This is simply one kind of opportunity to be witness to what that Holy Ghost does!