As one who sometimes views the galloping progress of media technology with a certain apprehension, it was a pleasant surprise to learn of your Church's facility via the internet which allows me from afar, the opportunity to express my gratitude for Christian Science at your Wednesday meeting. This is not a testimony of healing, indeed I am not currently a member of a Christian Science church or any other church for that matter but my life has, nevertheless, been influenced greatly by my Christian Science upbringing. My wish tonight is to express audibly (through your First Reader) something which has remained no more than a silent acknowledgement for years, for decades in fact: my appreciation to all those who have followed Christian Science teachings and have supported the movement since its inception and continue to ensure its continuance through these troubled times.
I especially appreciate the dedication and steadfastness of early Christian Scientists who needed considerable courage to break free from the customs of orthodox Church worship and to embrace Mrs. Eddy's fundamental teachings on the healing power of prayer and to follow her instructions outlined in Science and Health with its revelatory 'key to the scriptures.' My maternal grandparents became students of Christian Science very soon after the First Church in London started holding services in 1896 and I admire them taking such a fundamental decision, and my parents, like all fledgling Christian Science adherents, had to take a brave stand against the scepticism of established medical practitioners when deciding to follow Christian Science practices in dealing with health questions. Their steadfastness in staying true to their beliefs needed commitment and conviction.
I started attending Sunday School in Bangor, North Wales at the start of World war II and continued to attend at Barnet Church when we returned to London after the war. I served my full Sunday School sentence, enjoyed membership of the Youth Forum and benefited greatly from the activities and company of like-minded young people. I went on to become a Sunday School teacher and a Church member, subscribed to the Christian Science periodicals and had the privilege of becoming a contributor to the Christian Science Monitor.
The underlying ethos which was part and parcel of life within a Christian Science family, the acceptance of the power of prayer and right thinking in dealing with problems of every kind and the natural adoption of moral behaviour as a norm in day to day living that pertains in a Christian Science environment was instrumental in carrying me smoothly through my childhood, helped me negotiate the bumpy road of adolescence and set firm foundations for my early married life.
I later left the Christian Science movement as there were certain areas of spiritual development that I wanted to explore that deviated from Mrs. Eddy's explicit exposition of Christian Science and there were other life practices I followed that persuaded me that I could not with clear conscience describe myself an exemplar of a practicing Christian Scientist.
However I remained committed to the underlying teachings of Christian Science and returned often to Science and Health as I progressed on my spiritual journey. Now, with the challenges and busy-ness of working life behind me I have the time to reflect on the impact that Christian Science has had on my life and the blessings that were associated with being born into a Christian Science family. I realise now that my childhood environment was not common to others of my age who had no Christian Science-inspired parental guidance, and that what I took for granted was actually a priceless boon, a guiding hand that led me round many of the pitfalls that others less blessed than myself, encountered.
So here I am at last, in front of a computer screen putting into words what has been in my mind but silent for too long. I want to say thank you to Mary Baker Eddy for her writings and her courage and determination in establishing the Christian Science movement. Thank you to my parents for following the teachings of Christian Science in the upbringing of my brothers and myself. Thank you to the Sunday School teachers who nurtured and developed my understanding of the Bible and Science and Health. And thank you to the Christian Science practitioners for their love and healing help over the years.
And in the context of the present day world environment where principled thought and action appear to be much needed, may I applaud and encourage those who give their time today in sustaining the Christian Science movement by serving in the running of the Church, teaching in the Sunday School, attending at the Reading room or offering healing support as Christian Science practitioners. And also to those who are bringing up families according to Christian Science practices. Your work is so important and appreciated. It is indeed God's work.
To all of you - Thank you.