In a year often defined by uncertainty, Christian Scientists gathered at their online annual meeting, including from Midland and all of the 36 congregations throughout Michigan, to acknowledge the ways in which God’s love and mercy have opened paths of progress and joy in individual lives and collective church experience.

The meeting was live-streamed to members around the globe on June 7 from The First Church of Christ, Scientist, the church’s headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.

The theme of the meeting, “Grace to go forward,” is from a well-loved hymn, and was sung to one of H. Walford Davies’ “Hymns of the Kingdom.”

Acknowledging the challenges of the past year, Keith Wommack, a member of the Christian Science Board of Directors, said: “Trials cause us to be transformed. As the New Testament teaches, it is Christ that does the transforming, and we gain each step forward through Christly self-surrender.”

In video reports from Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, members shared that for them the heart of church is about learning to respond more fully to God’s love — a living faith that reaches beyond the walls of any brick and mortar building.

A congregation in Washington D.C. shared how they found new ways to carry out their activities and care for one another in the midst of lockdown restrictions.

A teen Sunday School class in Switzerland spoke about the value they found in continuing class online as they navigated changes to work and school life, and considered the role of faith as a practical help. A member from São Paulo, Brazil shared how his prayers for his church and the world brought him full healing in the face of severe COVID-19 symptoms. Christian Scientists typically endeavor to turn to God in prayer for healing, though the decision is always made by the individual, not the church.

Meeting participants also previewed a new exhibit titled “How do you see the world?” that is set to open at the church’s headquarters in Boston in late summer. The exhibit will explore progress in the world and connect visitors with the vision and ideals of the church’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy.