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CS Frequently-Asked Questions

Who is your pastor?
Neither the Mother Church in Boston nor branch churches around the world have a human pastor. In 1895 Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, and author of the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, named the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as "pastor" of all Christian Science churches. That may seem odd to those accustomed to turning to a person for spriritual inspiration, but Christian Scientists are comforted to know their pastor is always close at hand, 24 hours a day.

Through regular study of both books, students find God's comfort, guidance and healing power for concerns large and small. Without a personal pastor, eloquence from the pulpit becomes less important than spiritual education. Similarly, Christian Science services involve little ritual. Services follow a pattern but feature little ceremony. Understanding becomes more important than ritual, outward expressions of worship give way to inner commitment.

One of the primary reasons Mrs. Eddy "ordained" the two books as pastor of her church was to avoid the emphasis on human personality, to insure sermons "undivorced from truth, uncontaminated and unfettered by human hypotheses and divinely authorized" (Christian Science Quarterly).

Both the Bible and Science and Health are used equally during Sunday and Wednesday services, when citations are read by two lay members elected by the congregation. Readers are both men and women. In Christian Science where God is called "Father-Mother," both sexes serve in equal capacities.

Because we do not have a personal pastor, we do not have to wait for Sunday morning to hear the sermon, but study it throughout the week.

The Bible Lesson, which includes 26 subjects rotated twice a year, is composed by a committee at The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Each lesson is different, offering fresh inspiration each time. The Lesson is available at any Christian Science Reading Room or by subscription.

The King James version of the Bible is primarily used in church services and regular study, but many Christian Scientists also read other versions for additional insight. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is available at most bookstores and at Christian Science Reading Rooms.

Is Christian Science the same thing as Scientology?
No. They are not at all related.

What are Christian Science church services like?
Christian Scientists generally hold two meetings a week, Sunday services and Wednesday testimony meetings. Both services last one hour. While Christian Science services are different from other denominations, you will recognize many familiar elements.

The order of services is the same worldwide. The sermon on Sunday (what we call the Lesson-Sermon or Weekly Bible Lesson) is the same too. This sermon consists of readings from the Bible, followed by correlative passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Lay members of the congregation (not professional clergy) serve as readers. (The Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy, are our pastor.)

The citations for the Lesson-Sermon are laid out in the Christian Science Quarterly (available at a Christian Science Reading Room) which is provided for everyone to use during the Sunday service. This lesson is studied throughout the world during the week, and is used as the sermon for the Sunday church service.

In all of our services, we have time for silent prayer as well as praying together the Lord's Prayer. We sing hymns with musical accompaniment, and we have a solo on Sunday (but there is no choir). A collection is taken at end of the Sunday service (but money, or donations, or offerings, are not discussed, much less emphasized). Sunday School, generally held at the same time as the church service, is available for young people up to the age of 20. Bible lessons and how to apply them to daily life are studied, sometimes in one-on-one situations, sometimes in discussion groups. Sunday School students also have time for individual as well as collective prayer, and they sing hymns, too.

Wednesday services (our "testimony meetings") include readings from the Bible and Science and Health on a subject of interest to the community, along with appropriate hymns. About half of the hour-long service is given over to testimonies from the audience. Testimonies may include examples of physical healing or simple expressions of gratitude or inspiration. These meetings are a refreshing mid-week opportunity to hear spiritual truths and express our gratitude to God.

Because Christian Science involves consecrated self-study, what you get from a church service, other than a quiet hour of prayer and gratitude, often depends on what you bring to it. Our services won't tell you what to think, but they will give you food for thought. All services are open to the public, and everyone is welcome.

If you're seeking a quiet oasis where you can commune with God, we invite you to join us for a Sunday or Wednesday service.

For listings for other areas, see the worldwide listing of Christian Science Churches and Reading Rooms on the web page of The First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.

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