Branch Churches: Joy, Growth, and Unity
Mrs Eddy says”What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, in , patience, meekness love and good deeds.: To me this is church being lived everyday. She uses the words Most Needed, I think this is important in living church daily. It takes these qualities of Soul to Love God and love our neighbor. patience, meekness love and good deeds lived, now that is Church. Kathy McGuill
I love hearing these ideas about church activity meeting our needs INCLUDING our neighbor’s needs – during services and beyond.
A specific need that we have in our church service growth is GOOD (precise) communication. This will be especially helpful in making a smoother transition to zoom church services, for those who are listening online or currently by phone.
Divine Mind is not glitchy or capable of expressing a typo in a web-link!
Just first thoughts on that joy, growth, and unity include Paul’s reaction to the work he was given:
By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving
him by spreading this Good News. Eph. 3:7 NLT
That’s the joy (and fun) that comes from serving the institution “which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting our devils, or error, and healing the sick.”
With this attitude we all have unity of purpose, inspiration, growth in grace and unselfed love for our neighbors.
Serving our Branch Church is a special individual opportunity to support “the structure of Truth and Love” and “rouse the dormant understanding from material beliefs”. Service to Church compliments the same opportunity we have in our individual lives to live the truth.
We may sometimes be tempted to think we really don’t have much to offer our Branch Church. But consider what the apostle Paul wrote in Corinthians 12:
4) Now there are diversities of gifts but the same spirit
8)…to one is given …wisdom; to another the word of knowledge…
9)…to another the gift of healing…
11)…But to all these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit…
Thus Paul makes clear we all have God given gifts or talents: “…the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man…”
So let’s not be hesitant to use our gifts- our talents. Mrs. Eddy wrote “ blessed is that man who seeth his brothers need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.”
Keeping in mind the idea of Church as defined by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health where she states “Church is the structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle. The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.” I am most grateful for Mrs. Eddy’s provisions in the manual for establishing branch churches and societies. After I graduated from high school, I went on to become a very active member of of a Christian Science Organization in both undergraduate and graduate school. Upon graduation I went on to become active in four branch churches and one society. These were all great and joyous experiences for me. Not only did I get to serve in various capacities in church, but I met many life long friends, gained and grew from new ideas and experiences and learned how to deal with many new challenges through Christian Science. I am most grateful for the opportunity to be associated with a branch church wherever I have lived. I can’t imagine my life without being a part of church.
The basic responsibility of each member is to grow in grace – in Christlikeness – therefore demonstrating man’s oneness with God. As we grow in our understanding of Christian Science we recognize the benefits and responsibilities of church membership. As a church member we look past our own personal problems and we start to express both within our own consciousness and outwardly, that spiritual church which is “the structure of Truth and Love” and “which affords proof of its utility” (S&H pg 583) by eliminating the world’s conflicts. We can recognize that the effectiveness of a church expands solely with each individual member’s growth. At each Christian Science service separate spiritual unfoldment of Love and Truth occurs. Our thoughts are uplifted above the restricted beliefs of a divided mankind to the real universe – undivided, harmonious, limitless, where God’s all embracing Love is supreme. A church whose members separately commune daily with God in an attempt to demonstrate the true idea of church are bound to display a growing awareness of unity, joy and growth in all activities.