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Christian Science has a long history on island | Interfaith | Sept. 16
What do a jar of mayonnaise and a weekly international news magazine have in common? On the surface not much, but a woman stopped by the Christian Science Reading Room on Winslow Way recently to tell us that there were only two things she couldn’t live without – Best Foods mayonnaise and The Christian Science Monitor.
The pairing of the words Christian and Science may seem as puzzling as finding common ground between a jar of mayonnaise and an international news magazine.
Since the Reading Room opened in the 1950s, church members who staff it have responded to many questions about Christian Science, discoverer Mary Baker Eddy and the spiritual healing explained in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
Christian because it is based on the teachings and practice of Christ Jesus. In her autobiography, ‘Retrospection and Introspection,’ Mrs. Eddy says, “I named it Christian because it is compassionate, helpful, and spiritual.” It is scientific because it is founded on spiritual principles that anyone can apply with consistent results.
Mrs. Eddy saw more than one-time miraculous events in the works of Christ Jesus: she recognized the practice of universal spiritual laws.
Her recovery from the effects of a life-threatening accident after reading a biblical account of Jesus’ healing work showed her that it was possible not only to follow Jesus’ words, but also to rely on God, as Jesus did, to heal sickness and suffering. She devoted her life to healing, teaching and writing about the scientific practice of Christianity.
Recently, I was asked, ‘What is religion?’ I turned to a dictionary to help me answer. The definition of religion read, in part, “a personal awareness or conviction of the existence of a Supreme Being.” To me, religion means daily prayer, study and practice. It is turning daily to that Supreme Being for guidance and healing.
Christian Science is sometimes confused with faith healing, but it’s not the same. I don’t believe it is ever God’s will that anyone should suffer, be sick or die. Christian Science shows God to be entirely good, therefore His will for each individual is only health, prosperity and life.
Nothing in our church doctrine prevents me from seeking whatever form of health care I choose. In my own experience, I have seen the practical results of Christian Science from the healing of pneumonia to broken bones.
Since 1932, Christian Science has had a presence on Bainbridge. The present church building, at Madison Avenue and High School Road, was completed in 1941. The pastor of the church is the Bible and Science and Health. The Sunday service is based on a weekly Bible Lesson, read by two elected lay readers.
On Wednesday evenings there is a meeting with readings from the Bible and Science and Health and testimonies of shared by visitors and the congregation.
In addition to being a place where the public can ask questions about Christian Science, the Reading Room sells all the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, Bibles, Bible reference books, Christian Science magazines as well as The Christian Science Monitor. The Reading Room is open to the public for questions about Christian Science and to enjoy a peaceful time for prayer, spiritual study and inspiration.
As a member of the Bainbridge Interfaith Council, I’d like to express my deep appreciation for the inclusive and open dialogue found at IFC meetings. Its diverse membership consists of the religious communities found on Bainbridge and exemplifies cooperation, and finding common ground that can bless the whole community.
Susan Anderson represents the Assistant Committee on Publication for the island’s Christian Science church.