Even though we’re winding down from summer, this time of year is perfect for finding the spirit of community. I think it’s one of the best times of the year on the Island. Faith communities are terrific at offering plenty of options for growing your faith, or just coming together. I found a few things going on that you might find interesting.
The Christian Science Society on New York Avenue in Oak Bluffs is sponsoring a talk on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 3 pm at the American Legion Hall in Vineyard Haven. Nate Frederick, who lives in Boothbay, Maine, with his wife and toddler, is coming to present a lecture, “Learn to Pray and Heal, a Spiritual Adventure.” I caught up with Nate before he traveled here to ask about the talk, and who might find it interesting.
First of all, I’ve personally been wondering exactly what Christian Science is all about for years. I can’t seem to find a “definition” that fits what my own perception is, and we always like things to fit, don’t we? I do, anyway.
The first aspect Nate wanted to talk about is that his lecture is for everyone; listeners do not have to be of any particular religious denomination or from a specific religious community.
“The talk is very much for everyone,” Nate said. “I’ll speak about love in universal terms, not according to any dogma. I’ll be sharing experiences that have been meaningful to me, and talking about the ways people understand God and the possibilities for healing.”
He said his talk will be “deeply grounded in the idea of finding a way to love the way Jesus loved.” That got my attention. My own ideas about Christian Scientists were mostly based on news stories about people refusing medical treatment for health issues because of their religious beliefs. I pretty much kept my understanding of Christian Science focused on news stories I’d heard. I know, not exactly an open-minded approach.
Nate said that the healing Jesus was doing during his life on earth wasn’t a mystery, nor was it exclusive, or a gift that some have but others don’t. The universal knowledge of love is something you can practice and get better at, he said. “It’s a science, it’s universal knowledge … a way to progress spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.”
Nate said he had been interested in God and finding truth from a young age. He said he was devouring books about yogis, sages, saints, and others who had experienced God through the ages. He came across Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy’s book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” and found that he was deeply moved by it.
“It articulated things I had never heard articulated,” Nate told me. Then he witnessed healing in his own life — a chronically ill woman he was caring for was up and around, his father had been an alcoholic most of Nate’s life — he began to pray for his father intentionally and he, too, experienced healing.
“I saw a lot of healing, and started to pray for people when they asked me to,” Nate said. “That was my beginning as a spiritual healer. It’s not about living in a particular tradition or accepting Jesus as my savior. It’s about attaining that consciousness of love.”
Nate spoke a lot about love while we were chatting. He talked about keeping our perspective on the divine and on a higher plane, and not being thrown for a loop when challenges come along.
“In Christian Science, we try to get a more broad view that life is harmonious and whole and includes love,” Nate explained. “When life throws us a curveball, we’re not letting ourselves get emotionally bent up into a pretzel. We’re letting a higher view inform us and influence and guide us, and not be influenced by a myopic view of things.”
That description made much more sense to me than my own preconceived notions about what Christian Science is about.
The lecture sounds like it might be a good option for this weekend.
The M.V. Hebrew Center hosts an Artisans Fair on Sunday, Nov. 10, from 10 am to 3 pm. There will be 18 Island exhibitors selling everything from jewelry to pottery to photography to sculpture to wooden cheese boards. It’s a good opportunity to get a jump on holiday shopping, and to get out into the community. The Hebrew Center is always a welcoming place.
The First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven postponed its Harvest Dinner last weekend, and now host it this weekend, on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 5 to 6:30 pm. They’ll have all the delicious food that we love this time of year.
Bodhi Path Buddhist Center in West Tisbury invites everyone to an open house on Sunday, Nov. 10, from 3 to 5 pm at 21 Laurand Dr. If you’ve wondered what happens at the center, this is a good time to find out. Join Dharma teacher Tsony and Bodhi Path participants for tea, snacks, and info about the center. Everyone is welcome.
The Federated Church offers its fun Celebrity Waiters Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 6 to 8 pm. This year you might find Miss Piggy, Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, or Queen Elizabeth serving up warm plates of delicious spaghetti. These waiters work for tips, which go with the rest of the proceeds to benefit the Haiti PeaceQuilts project. Cost is $15 per person, $10 for children, with a cap of $35 for families. Don’t forget to tip your waiter or waitress.
The Chilmark Community Church offers some regular events that are open to everyone in the community. Besides the regular Sunday services, they host Pizza Night on Tuesdays, and Thursday Strings from 10 to 11 am every week. Bring your own guitar, violin, banjo, ukulele, or whatever you have and play along. There’s also a prayer group that meets on Thursdays from noon to 1 pm, and they welcome everyone.
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