What different ways might you find to work with your local interfaith group?

By Jan True

To me, interfaith participation has been such an important and fulfilling part of my work for church, originally as Assistant Committee on Publication.

I started in a small town in New Mexico where the members of the interfaith council were of mostly the Christian churches and the one Jewish community. They had breakfast meetings once a month and mostly shared what their different groups were doing in the community. At one breakfast meeting I gave a presentation on Christian Science to the group, got some wonderful questions, and even gave out several copies of Science and Health. At another time we had a prayer meeting for the entire town where I was able to share our correlative scripture of I John 3 with a large group of attendees.

In Nevada County, California, I was part of a new interfaith group. Most of the group were what I would call faith groups sort of on the fringes. It included Unity, Religious Science, Christian Science, United Methodist, Unitarian Universalist, and Episcopal faith traditions, but also included different groups such as a local hospice, the local hospital chaplain, and individuals with different spiritual practices. Each month we met at a different church or other location. And each time we met we heard the story of one of the attendees. When I shared my story it was all about my progress in Christian Science and my service to church. But I was most impressed in hearing the others’ very inspiring spiritual journeys. The purpose of this group was to learn about and support the diverse spiritual traditions in the community

Currently I attend the interfaith council meetings in South Orange County and participate in some of their activities. Each year we host two events, the main one being the spring Prayer Breakfast with about 200 attendees, including government officials, diverse church groups, and individuals. It always includes an inspirational guest speaker chosen by the council. Next year the Christian Science church will be doing a prayer message along with two other faith traditions at this breakfast. Last fall at a panel event our church sponsored Brian Talcott as a lecturer. For the last two years I’ve led a prayer team to support the Prayer Breakfast. This has been gratefully acknowledged as making a difference in the harmony of the event.

What different ways might you find to work with your local interfaith group?

Example of Interfaith Love

By Marilyn McPherson

I was struck by the final 3 paragraphs of the interview with outgoing First Reader of TMC Sandy Sandberg, from the October Journal, which to me exemplifies the way of harmony that is the natural outcome of learning more about and connecting with members of other Christian denominations and other faiths:

“When I was a Christian Science chaplain in the military, I worked with a Baptist chaplain—he was my supervisor—and we developed a very close relationship. He was so incredibly kind, gentle, and caring in his approach—so embracing of everyone and forgiving of shortcomings. I sensed he was genuinely living a “love your neighbor as yourself” example that I could only aspire to at that point in my experience. And I recognized that, and I loved him for what he was showing me from his own religious tradition.

“We would exchange so many ideas, and he’d ask me from time to time about Christian Science. I didn’t have to convert him. The important thing was seeing the power of good, the power of Truth, the power of Love at work in what we were both aspiring to do in helping others.

“The day I left the unit, and we were parting ways, we sat on a bench together outside. He turned to me and said, ‘Sandy, one day we’re all going to sit down on the banks of the river Jordan. And we’re going to laugh about these silly distinctions that we mortals make between the gospel message—that it means this or it means that—when we know what it really means. It means loving each other the way God loves us.'”

Isn’t that beautifully expressed?

True, I have encountered the writings and teachings of Christian mystics and luminaries from the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Native American traditions, but I don’t feel that I really know what I, as a CS branch church member, could or should be doing to connect with local faith communities.  My thought is that I can at least share my thoughts, doubts, uncertainties and inspiration in this discussion group and learn what others of you are thinking and doing.  Can I do more than post messages online and speak with other branch church members and visitors about interfaith and ecumenical ideas?  How are any of you thinking about these questions?  How are you praying about peace among adherents of different religions and spiritual traditions, including those who espouse no faith?

The Ten Commandments in Contemporary Language

A few years ago my Sunday School class and I brainstormed how we could make the Ten Commandments ‘relevant’ to our daily experience. We didn’t feel like we had vital ways to apply the commandments. For example, we felt we could check-off the box for “not stealing” and “not killing”, so were those still something we should keep active in our daily decisions? So, we re-framed them, and came up with this list.

As a resource, I’m providing them in three ways: within the text of this post, as a PDF document, and as a Word document  (so you can refine them further for your own Sunday School class).

Enjoy these, please share, but always please include the original source, in this case Jason Marsh.

Ten Commandments in contemporary language

By Jason Marsh, October, 2011

1)            Accept no “other” outside the Infinite – only God

2)            Have no “image” (thought) but perfection – for self and others

3)            Expect good, expect healing, don’t use God’s name if you don’t mean it – why pray if you don’t expect results?

4)            Live in the Now – on the Sabbath and every day, hour, and minute

5)            Love without prejudice (to age or bodily description, including parents )

6)            Encourage others and yourself by not killing ideas -> bring positive energy into all your interactions/activities

7)            Respect the sanctity of identity & body – for yourself and others (no body manipulation)

8)            Acknowledge abundance for yourself

9)            Be honest to yourself, and therefore others

10)         Acknowledge abundance for others, humbly see that their good is included in your good

Note: first 3 relate to your relationship to God, 4th is a transition (both), and last 6 relate to your relationship with others.

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!

New Website Work

The new website is coming along! Jason Marsh here, and I’ve been updating the prior website structure to be more appropriate for our new organization and the new mission of NorCal Church Alive. So far the look and feel is mostly done, and so more structural organization will continue forward.


I should note, though you’ve probably received explanatory emails on this, that the Summit Committee has now disbanded and has been replaced by “NorCal Church Alive”, an association with the mission of continuing a forum for Church Alive topics within Christian Science Churches in northern California and western Nevada. It is this new committee that is supporting this website.

Some of the Discussion Groups have really taken off, and others are, well, in need of some more energy. Together we can nurture those activities that are needed, and those needs may change over time. But some really good ideas are being shared, and this website will continue to change to better distribute those ‘bright lights’ of change. The Discussion Group ideas will percolate up to this site, where more can join in the conversation.

Join a discussion group! If you are already in a discussion group, post what your church has been thinking about! Is the discussion lively? Is it frustrating? I feel like we’ve all been given permission to have the conversation, so let’s keep the conversation going.

Post comments below for your questions and comments about this website, I’d love your ideas. This is your site after all, and our churches are all walking together on Life’s journey.


Eddy letters shared by Michael Davis

At the Summit, Mike Davis shared some wonderfully moving letters written by Mary Baker Eddy from the MBE Library. There have been some requests for information about how to obtain the letters.

You can obtain these by calling the MBE Library at (617) 450-7000, and you want the ‘research’ department. When I requested it, the charge was $6.50 for copying and handling fees.

The ID numbers for the sympathy letters are:

L10887 (To Mrs. Grace E Foster: “I have waited for the first sad hours to pass before writing to you….”)

L05613 (To Mittie Whitcomb: “My beloved ones, my soul pleads for your consolations and even peace, pleads that now, in this deep affliction you “acquaint thyself with God and be at peace”….)

The number for the one about readmitting the Nickersons into membership is:

L00075 (“…now, as of old, divine compassion reiterates the tender rebuke: ‘Go, and sin no more.”)


“and the leaves of the Tree are for the healing of the nations…” – Beautiful Post-It trees from the Summit

Post-It Tree

Ideas shared by Summit participants on our Church Alive Post It Trees:

“and the leaves of the Tree are for the healing of the nations…” *

Christian Science is the true Christianity that Jesus lived.

Prayers in churches: affirming what is real and true!

All the branch churches will blossom with the help of every “ray of sunlight and drop of rain.”

Christ healing: universal reality…calm, holy, healthy.


Informal church services!

Love is the Liberator

Love revels in the flowering of Truth.


God is ever-present ALL.

Be quiet, too.

I love God and He loves me.

We go to Church to give!

Expressing and living Love is RADICAL!

Goal: To be known as healers and those who love!

People will know you are my disciples by the love you show one to another!

Mary Baker Eddy claimed VICTORY upon the founding of our Church in the 19th Century!

ONLY Love!

Deep Roots: to reach the living waters of understanding.

Church IS alive!


BE Love and you’ll SEE Love.

Share your love for God when you think you are in the greatest danger.


Remember who you ARE!

We are LOVE’s ideas and we CAN HEAL!


Be a Bridge!

Step OUT of gossip!

Is Church just for US?

One Page Bylaws

Fervor in speaking the Word

No empty seats

Judge Not!


Stand porter at the door of thought.

I love you!

Alive loving and including the voices of everyone

Today is the Day the Lord has made.


Trust in the power of Spirit.

Never too busy to be kind

Wake Up!

Christian Science = the ORIGINAL Christianity that
Jesus lived

Let the Spirit move you through your life.

Is our compassion for others? Why are we Christians?


God has prepared a place for you.

Radical Acts: The Game

False law should be trampled underfoot!

Wednesday Church: A Happy Meeting of Friends!

It’s like….REAL !

CSers love one another

Prayer strengthened with practical service

Preach the Gospel to every creature….Love God’s earth!

Live your vision of Church

Don‘t just say it: DO IT!

Practice brings out the perfection within!

FEAR not!

Love alone is Life

*In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river,
was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits,
and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree
were for the healing of the nations. –Rev. 22:2

Post-It Tree