Willis F. Gross, C.S.B.

Portrait by I.M. Gaugengigl. Original Longyear Collection.


WILLIS F. GROSS earned his education in the Illinois public schools of Knoxville, and later at Hedding College in Abingdon. His love for the Bible prepared him for the time when, in 1886, a former schoolmate introduced him to Christian Science, which he quickly accepted. Later that same year, Willis had Primary class instruction with Mrs. Eddy’s student Janet Colman, and soon abandoned his study of law for the healing work of Christian Science. He and his wife, Mary Epley Gross, settled in Wichita, Kansas, in December 1887, and while there Mr. Gross served the Christian Science church as pastor until May 1893, when he was called to the church in Topeka, Kansas, to serve in the same capacity. In 1895, his position changed from pastor to First Reader, and his wife joined him as Second Reader. In 1899, Mr. and Mrs. Gross moved to Boston so that Willis could assist Judge Septimus and Camilla Hanna in the editorial office of the Christian Science Publishing Society. Both Mr. and Mrs. Gross attended the first Normal class taught under the newly established Christian Science Board of Education, from which each received the degree of C.S.B. Willis Gross went on to become President of The Mother Church in 1906, and served as a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship from 1910 to 1922.

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