COMMITTEE OF CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS for

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 
Oct. 15-19, 2015

 FRUITAGE REPORT

Part 1 - PRESENTERS

It is with immense gratitude that this report is compiled. It begins with the telling of efforts and events from "behind-the-scenes," the efforts which got things done!

Our first note of thanks goes to Scott Hansen, Attorney-at-law, and a member of Second Church, Salt Lake City, 
engaged in a support-role with the state's Committee on Publication. Scott is active with the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable and assisted that group in bringing the Parliament to Salt Lake City. As early as mid-December, 2014, Scott made an appeal to several church members, via email, to consider forming a planning group for Christian Science activities at the Parliament. It didn't take long for an amazing committee to take shape!


Scott has known Susan Soleil (member of the Salt Lake Parliament planning committee) for many years, and because of this association, was positioned to introduce the expert qualifications of Mary "Trinka" Trammell, CSB, to be included on the Parliament program. Trinka, with a unique, dual perspective as a PhD/Bible scholar and former chair of the Board of Directors of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was quickly recognized to be an asset to the Parliament program.

Trinka presented a thirty-minute history of Mary Baker Eddy and her role as Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, an insightful and concise telling of Eddy's remarkable place in history; then Scott acted as moderator for an hour-long dialogue with the audience, which was vibrant with questions and comments with thoughtful perspectives from several persons, many who were new to a discussion of Christian Science. Trinka was accompanied by her husband, Talbot, and together they attended several presentations throughout the Parliament. Many thanks for their presence and participation. It was an honor to assist them!

And it was our privilege to work with Maryl F. Walters, CSB, and an interfaith activist who currently represents The Mother Church on the Interfaith Relations Convening Table of the US National Council of Churches. She presented an hour-long lecture with a thirty-min. Q&A, sponsored by Second & Third Churches, Salt Lake City. Maryl's topic, 
"Prayer as a Powerful Resource for a Healthy Environment: A Christian Science Perspective," was a successful presentation of how effectively Christian Science prayer meets human need. Maryl worked with our committee from the early stages of planning, offering metaphysical perspective to keep us on track, and submitting her proposal to the Parliament planning committee which had a first deadline of Jan. 15. Wow, get busy Maryl! And she did. Our active preparation for the lecture came full-circle with a tele-conference metaphysical meeting with Maryl in Sept. Throughout the months of planning, Maryl called us "prayer warriors," and so we were. Thanks, Maryl!

A third Christian Scientist on the program was Lois Rae Carlson, CSB, with forty years experience as practitioner and teacher. She was a co-presenter on the panel of Sharing Sacred Spaces, A Program of Interreligious Community-building, based in Chicago. Lois' comment to me about the panel presentation was, "
Christian Science was so beautifully represented, and you could certainly feel the Science working in the wonderful agreement on man’s goodness and ability to live harmoniously in one family of God."

Here is a very short excerpt from Lois' presentation: "What Sacred Spaces Downtown Chicago did for our church is invite us into a conversation in which we never even considered that we would belong. It was wonderful to feel welcomed into friendship and learning from one another.

"Even though we have the smallest membership of the eight congregations, we tended to have the largest turnout at the events, just because it was so new and fresh for us to reach beyond our borders. Maybe your church has the same liability that we did--we tended to talk to ourselves. . .

"As [the panel moderator] mentioned, each of the congregations hosted an Open House, where we extended hospitality, gave tours of our building with an overview of our religious beliefs. When our new friends came to our "house," we decided to break down the large group into ten sections. Each smaller group was led by two of our members, one who was a long term member and the other relatively new.

"The outcome of the project has been very happy. While some
congregations have  closer relationships than others, there is a freedom to
invite each other to our events. Twice I’ve been asked to speak at special
Presbyterian programs. Every year Rabbi Levinsky was in Chicago he invited
us to a Seder meal and the Christian Scientists will keep going. When I meet a
new Muslim woman, I understand the modesty of her dress and the deep
sense of worth behind her burke. . . Sacred Spaces has opened our eyes to experience the deep spirituality of the members of other congregations."
Thanks to Lois for this meaningful contribution!

 
Part 2 - BOOTH, MEDIA & FUNDRAISING

BOOTH

There's no question that the booth was the hub of our interaction with the public. This splendid and elegant display was the handiwork of church members from Salt Lake City, Utah: Lisa Hansen Mietchen & Suzy Patterson, with efforts from a design team at The Mary Baker Eddy Library. Also from Salt Lake were our two most capable and efficient librarians, Nancy Ferguson & Karen Gauthier, who ordered and supervised the inventory. We had a dynamic and untiring team working in the booth, 9:30am-6:30pm, closing at 2:00pm on the fifth day. The volunteers  were: Cathryn Rathsam, from Pacific Beach, CA; Jasmine Hailey, and Sabrina Stillwell, CSB, from Los Angeles, CA; Trinka Wasik, CS, from Walnut Creek, CA; Susan Deal, CS, from Laguna Hills,CA; from Salt Lake City, Wes Wheater, Jessica & Jim Dalrymple; Lisa, Suzy, Nancy, and Karen; also including me, Marie Longpré-Adams, CS, from Las Vegas, NV.

Many, many thanks to these dedicated workers!

Our ambassador, The Christian Science Monitor opened many opportunities for dialogue with hundreds of interfaith colleagues. It began with the most generous offering given by The Christian Science Publishing Society in providing, for each registrant, a copy of The Christian Science Monitor. That means they provided 10,000 copies! (And it was the Salt Lake crew of Parliament volunteers - not our church members - who stuffed the tote bags.) The particular issue provided was dated Oct. 12, 2015, the very week of the Parliament, and that week's column of A Christian Science Perspective was written by the Utah Committee on Publication, Elizabeth Beall, CS. It was titled, "Reclaiming the heart of our humanity," a specific response to the Parliament's themeThen, with being able to offer the generous gift from our friends at First Church, Salem, OR, of free 12-month subscriptions to The Monitor, we estimate that we spoke, at length, to 1,500 persons. Overall, we estimate that we met 2,500 persons, giving bookmarks (with the same design as the booth banner) and the newest pamphlet, "What is Christian Science?" (available as a free download from the Christian Science Publishing Society). Other items given were 4 biographies of Mary Baker Eddy; 20 copies of Science and Health (1 French, 1 Swedish); 2 Bibles;  1 copy of Healing Spiritually.
Part 3 of this report will be highlights of some our conversations with the public.


MEDIA
While there was a lull in the planning during the summer months, we began our media campaigns, establishing email and Facebook profiles, and publishing newsletters via 
MailChimp. We found these media to be efficient means of outreach and have kept them active.We also published the Twitter profile of Utah's COM, Elizabeth Ward Beall, CS; this profile has a very active following. Check it out @UtahCS. We also published, the blog sites of Evan Mehlenbacher, CSB, and Keith Wommack, CSB. Both were happy to support our activity! Our very first newsletter included the websites of the COMs of California, Donald W. Ingwerson, CS (Southern) and Eric D. Nelson, CS (Northern).

FUNDRAISING
Early in the planning stages, we received a very helpful contribution from The Mother Church. The email newsletters allowed for a wide outreach, and from that we received donations from several individuals, and the following branch churches and societies: Second and Third Churches, Salt Lake City, UT; First Church, Park City, UT;  Sixth Church, Portland, OR; 
Tenth Church, Portland, OR; First Church, Salem, OR; Twenty-eight Church, Los Angeles, (Westwood) and Thirty-sixth Church, Los Angeles, (Studio City) CA; Christian Science Society, Solvang, CA; First Church, Irving, TX; First Church, New Braunfels, TX. Many thanks to these generous donations, which allowed us to easily meet our expenses!

Part 3 - CONVERSATIONS & EXCHANGES WITH THE PUBLIC

Just before leaving for the Parliament,  a friend who is accomplished in the world of publishing and experienced with trade shows suggested that we provide a bowl of candy at our booth. What wise counsel! It became a draw for many repeat visitors. Some stopped just to enjoy the candy, which often led to meaningful conversation. These heart-felt, one-on-one conversations were oftentimes movingas when the tiny woman from India, who is a medical physician, took both my hands in hers, and kissed them. What a holy moment! What I would wish for you, dear reader, is that you be blessed with an opportunity to experience a momentous interfaith event ~
Marie Longpré-Adams
Committee Chair

Here's an experience one of our volunteers had, in her own words: "A woman walked by and called me 'the chocolate lady.' We began talking and she told me she had Christian Science 'roots' - her grandmother had been a Christian Scientist. At one point, my visitor was in so much pain, she wanted to die. Her grandmother prayed (and may have contacted a practitioner). She was healed. But she realized, two years ago, that she still needed to 'want to live' and she's made that commitment. She's in the Sufi tradition now (Sufism is the inner mystical dimension of Islam). She thanked me for the candy and conversation, and gave me a big hug!"

 A student of Sri Chimnoy (an Indian spiritual master who taught meditation in the West after moving to New York City in 1964) came by to share that her guru felt that Mary Baker Eddy was the greatest thinker in human history.

 A college seminary student from Texas came with some classmates to the Parliament. Their professor gave them assignments to visit certain sessions and take notes. He took constant and rapid notes on his iPad from Trinka Trammell's talk on Mary Baker Eddy's role as Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. He said he was held in rapt attention during the inspired discussion that followed regarding how to pray for and expect healing solutions regarding climate change, poverty, and violence.  He stated that he had never heard this interpretation of the Bible, that it wasn't what he was expecting. He stated that he was in awe of what he heard and needs to reassess what he's doing at seminary. He accepted a copy of Science and Health, and also a complimentary subscription to The Christian Science Monitor.

Two young women, filmmakers from Brazil, asked, "What do Christian Scientists believe? And what do they add to the world?" Lovely girls.

Another Muslim man from Laguna Hills, CA, also asked "What is Christian Science?" He was sincerely interested and intends to visit the Laguna Niguel branch church. He appreciated the subscription offer.

A chaplain from the local private  school, Rowland Hall/St. Mark's took a copy of Science and Health for the school's library.


A woman came in, said she's Catholic; asked if we believe in the Trinity of God. I [Marie] said, "Yes, but not in the orthodox manner." Our 15-minute conversation  focused on Jesus' role to humanity and his healing mission. She was surprised to hear I believe in eternal life. She said, "So, you're as old as God?" "Yes!"

Johan, a Swedish man who is Buddhist, had taken a bookmark the previous day, and came back to ask many questions about Christian Science. He stayed for about 15 minutes; we even had a Science and Health in Swedish to offer him!

Joanne, a Catholic nun, said she reads the online edition of The Christian Science Monitor every morning. She took a subscription form, which she'll share with the others in her convent.

A woman from Seattle visited; said she was familiar with the Reading Room by the University of Washington. We talked about the practicality of spiritual healing.

A woman who had visited our booth the previous day returned with a friend, whom she wanted to acquire a copy of Science and Health.

A Catholic nun from India came by and asked, "What is Christian Science?" She was told about who Mary Baker Eddy was and her healing work. She and her friend were so intrigued, and each accepted a copy of Science and Health, although somewhat hesitantly, at first. But she believed strongly that God had brought her to this booth. She was given the name of a practitioner in New Delhi, India.

A young man asked, "What is Christian Science?" We talked for awhile, and he took a Science and Health, an issue of The Christian Science Monitor, and the complimentary 12-month subscription offer.

A student from Boston asked why I was a Christian Scientist. I explained that as much as I find the truth in many other religions, none takes the goodness and power of God as far as does Christian Science in healing. After more discussion he took several copies of the Sentinel and a flyer about the upcoming Christian Science lectures at the Parliament.

A woman said she was planning to attend the talk by Trinka Trammell. She felt that Science and Health was hard to read. We talked about The Christian Science Monitor, which she liked and took the complimentary 12-month subscription offer.

Spoke with a woman who is currently the only university chaplain appointed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). She's ministering at Harvard University and mentioned that she knows Ret. US Army Chaplain, Janet Horton, and how much she enjoys their conversations. She was so happy to meet us at our booth!

The editor of Unity Magazine, Katy Koontz stopped by. She knows about Trinka Trammell and hopes to attend her talk on Friday.

A woman stopped by and told us, "I'm a student of Mark Swinney." Gave her a flyer for the lectures at the Parliament.

A man asked, "Is it true that Christian Scientists don't go to doctors?" The reply was, "We believe and practice spiritual healing. If we want to go to the doctor we can." He took a copy of Science and Health

Three young ladies in high school asked that we explain the core beliefs of Christian Science. It was explained who Mary Baker Eddy was as Discoverer and Founder, and author of Science and Health. They accepted several copies of the Sentinel, pamphlets, and bookmarks. 

Two Christian Scientists from the San Juan Capistrano Society stopped by. 

A woman commented, "My mom loves to read the Monitor." She took copies of the Sentinel, some pamphlets, and bookmarks.

A young man, a former Catholic seminary student, asked if I would explain Christian Science. We spent twenty minutes together, then he accepted a Science and Health and the complimentary 12-month subscription offer. He was very grateful to get a thorough explanation of Christian Science.

A woman from the Unity Church asked for an information pamphlet, then we talked about The Christian Science Monitor; she took a 12-month subscription offer. Then she asked if she could stop at a Reading Room for "the textbook," and I said, "You can get it here!" And she took it.

A woman who is a Catholic nun, and who works as a Hospice worker, asked, "How can I help a patient who is a Christian Scientist? Isn't death a failure to Christian Science healing?" My reply, "In eternal Life and Love there is no guilt. Just love them."

A man took a picture of our booth. He's a Methodist and had attended the 1999 Parliament in Cape Town, Africa. He's writing an article for his church with an overview of the churches at the Salt Lake Parliament.

A woman who is a minister with the United Church of Christ, but was raised in Christian Science, said she had attended the lecture. She came to the booth to find some quiet time. Had a lovely conversation. She left with a Sentinel.

Three college students who are Religion and Sociolgy students came to the Parliament to present a panel discussion of their research. They are hoping to become ministers, and were intrigued by what they learned of Mary Baker Eddy and the concept of healing as Jesus did. Each took a copy of Science and Health.

Two young, earnest Muslim men asked, "What is Christian Science?" Talked about the discovery of spiritual healing that Mary Baker Eddy experienced. They were not aware that there was a church affiliated to The Christian Science Monitor. They each accepted subscription offers.

Another Muslim man from Laguna Hills, CA, also asked "What is Christian Science?" He was sincerely interested and intends to visit the Laguna Niguel branch church. He appreciated the subscription offer.