Keeping abreast of the times

Dear Reader: 

When something we love changes—a favorite podcast, a restaurant, or even the name of a sports team—it sometimes takes a moment for us to see that all is well and that the change could be for the better. 

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The upcoming changes to the Sentinel in 2021 deserve a thoughtful moment from us because there is an important reason for the changes. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, and the Christian Science periodicals, included the following By-Law in her Church Manual: “. . . it shall be the duty of the Directors to see that these periodicals are ably edited and kept abreast of the times” (p. 44). Keeping the periodicals “abreast of the times” is a serious responsibility, as serious as making sure that the periodicals are “ably edited.” 

Being abreast of the times starts with being alert to the mental trends of today that call for healing answers. Christ Jesus made a similar point with the religious leaders who challenged his role as Savior. He said, “Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:3). He was expecting them to see the great shifts in thought caused by the Christ—the divine Truth he was living and teaching.

Keeping abreast of the times also means using today’s channels and styles of communication. The Sentinel needs to be where people are searching for spiritual answers, and that includes a strong presence online and in social media as well as in print. Contemporary design in digital and in print is also part of being abreast of the times because it uses a visual language that speaks to people today. 

Starting with the first 2021 issue of the Sentinel, you will see the most recent changes that have been made as we continue the Church’s long history of obeying the Manual By-Law. We probably don’t need to say how important prayer is to this Church activity, and how essential each prayer and pray-er is. Please feel free to be in touch by writing to

Susan Stark, Managing Editor

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