"Expressive Silence": Communion and the Communion Season

By
  • Stephen R. Howard
-

Boston, Massachusetts, June 28, 1903: Sallie Loughridge of Fort Worth, Texas, stood before Mechanics Hall Building on Huntington Avenue, Boston, where The Mother Church would hold three Communion services that day. Sixteen years earlier a friend had urged her to turn to Christian Science. For years she had suffered from a fibroid tumor weighing “not less than fifty pounds, attended by a continuous hemorrhage for eleven years.”

Obtaining a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, Miss Loughridge studied the book, exclaiming aloud at what she was reading. One day she realized that she was well. The tumor “began to disappear at once, the hemorrhage ceased, and perfect strength was manifest.”1

Photograph of people outside Mechanics Hall during The Mother Church Communion season, June 1902. Longyear Museum collection.

Five years later, Miss Loughridge joined The Mother Church, in 1893. And now on a fine June day in 1903, she was in Boston to attend Communion in The Mother Church. The edifice of The Mother Church, dedicated eight years earlier, was not large enough to accommodate the worshippers, and so the services were held at nearby Mechanics Hall Building.

Since the previous Thursday morning Mechanics Hall had been abuzz, from nine in the morning till nine at night, staffed by Christian Scientists who answered visitors’ questions, gave directions, issued membership cards for admission to special meetings, and coordinated discounted fares offered by railroad and steamer lines. For a week, right up through Wednesday evening, Mechanics Hall remained the hub of information, twelve hours a day.

At seven-thirty on Communion morning, the doors of Mechanics Hall were opened, and seventy-five ushers snapped to attention. By eight-thirty, the main floor and balcony were full. The service began at nine o’clock, and at its close, the auditorium was cleared, and those waiting for the eleven-thirty service were admitted. There was a third service at two o’clock.

Events of the Communion season deeply impressed Sallie Loughridge, impelling her to record:

The Communion season which has just passed, the visit by invitation to our beloved Leader’s home, and, last but not least, her letter and words of love, have stirred my heart to its depths and I want to say, Dear God, make me, make us all, indeed thankful for these thy blessings.2

Since the late 1890s, the Communion season had included more than the Communion service itself. The day after Communion, visiting Christian Scientists frequently went seventy miles north to Mrs. Eddy’s home, Pleasant View, in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1903, Mrs. Eddy’s invitation was announced at the Communion service, and in less than twenty-four hours travel arrangements were made and tickets printed to convey ten thousand people to Concord. The Boston Evening News commended the orderliness, noting that “not even a railroad official lost his temper.”3

Oil on canvas portrait of Mary Baker Eddy by Duane Haley. Longyear Museum collection.

On Tuesday afternoon, Annual Meeting would be held. And there would almost certainly be another message or letter from Mrs. Eddy on that occasion as well.

On Wednesday there was sure to be a memorable testimony meeting, with testifiers from around the world. In 1903, visitors came from as far away as Australia, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom. Occasionally over-enthusiastic members held impromptu testimony meetings in hotel lobbies, a practice which the editor of the Christian Science periodicals reminded them was discourteous to other hotel guests and should be discontinued.4

The Communion service in Christian Science worship was simple. Communion season, on the other hand, involved quite a bit more.

“To kneel with us”

Addressing ten thousand visitors at her home the day after the 1903 Communion, Mary Baker Eddy noted that some had “come long distances to kneel with us in sacred silence in blest communion.”5

Kneeling and silence — two words that describe, at least outwardly, Christian Science Communion services. During the 1880s, it was the pastor, not the congregation, who kneeled. The Christian Science Journal provides two depictions of Mary Baker Eddy kneeling as she conducted Communion services:

After a short statement of the spiritual intent of the eucharist, the congregation sat in silence, while the pastor knelt in silent prayer.6

[After singing the hymn “On the night of that last supper”] came the sublimely simple, spiritual Communion of Christian Science; the Pastor kneeling at her chair, and leading the desires of all who communed with her in Spirit, as, in this supreme act of worship, they bowed “before Christ, Truth, to receive…more of his reappearing, and silently communed with the divine Principle thereof.”7

In 1892 congregational kneeling was a definite feature of Mrs. Eddy’s order of service following the “Invitation to Christ’s Table”:

Communion: Pastor and Church kneel (and all who love our Communion) silently partaking of the Bread which cometh down from Heaven, and taking the Cup of Salvation.8

The historical evidence, though scanty, points to the absence of kneeling by the congregation during the 1880s and to Mrs. Eddy’s adding it to the service in 1892.9

“Expressive silence”

At the 1903 Communion service, the Communion sermon, “Loving One Another,” had just been read and First Reader Hermann Hering announced: “I now invite all present whether members of this church or not, to unite with us in spiritual, holy communion with the one God, infinite Love.”

The congregation knelt in silence. Profound silence. As the Boston Herald had described the service several years before:

No material elements lay upon the altar, no bread nor wine passed from hand to hand and lip to lip. With bowed head and bended knee, and in a silence so profound that it seemed itself to proclaim the resolving of substance into spirit, the multitude…received the spiritual sacrament for which they had come so far.10

“We have not before us a cup of wine or a broken loaf to commemorate the Life of our Lord,”Mrs. Eddy told a congregation in the 1880s, adding, “Bread and wine stand for ideas”:

They express and suggest spiritual thoughts that we should entertain without any material symbols, and who but our Master could discharge so well the office of their interpreter. Would that I could impart half as well the new and vivid sense of the greatness and truth of that faith and Love of which they tell, and you would catch the inspiration….Then you would understand the science of divinity and know what it is to commemorate Jesus in spirit and in Truth.11

When addressing The Mother Church at Communion in 1896, she called the congregation’s attention to “expressive silence”:

It is well that Christian Science has taken expressive silence wherein to muse His praise, to kiss the feet of Jesus, adore the white Christ, and stretch out our arms to God.12

Here, then, would emerge a new dedication to sharing the bread and wine of Christ’s table, realized not through the literal symbols but through “expressive silence.” The bylaws of Mrs. Eddy’s first church organization set forth its nature (see sidebar “ ‘Solemn and silent self-examination’ ”).

The right hand of fellowship

“On the sacramental Sabbath,” state the first bylaws of the church, “the Articles of the Church [that is, the Tenets] shall be read in the presence of the congregation to those who are to be received, to which the candidates shall signify their consent.”13 The bylaws also required candidates to sign their names to the Tenets. Thus, reading the Tenets on Communion Sunday and candidates’ signing their names to the Tenets can be traced to the earliest days of the church.14

Even as Mrs. Eddy, when preaching on Communion Sundays in the 1880s, would explain silent Communion, she would also instruct the candidates on the solemnity of joining the church — thereby reminding the whole congregation of the significance of membership. The Journal recounts a Communion in March 1886:

Thirty-three men and women stood up and were received into church-membership, Mrs. Eddy making a short address, and reading to them the brief articles of faith.15

“Tenets and Covenant: To be signed by those uniting with this Church.” From a circular of the Church of Christ (Scientist), circa 1879. Longyear Museum collection.

After the candidates had given their assent to the Tenets, Mrs. Eddy extended to them “the right hand of fellowship.” This gesture of unity in Christly purpose reaches back to that momentous meeting in early Christian history when James, Peter, and John extended their “right hands of fellowship” to Paul and Barnabas, thus recognizing the spiritual authenticity of their ministry to the Gentile world.16

Mrs. Eddy’s charge to new members made lasting impressions. A woman who joined the church in the 1880s recalled, “Well do I remember the Mother’s [Mrs. Eddy’s] counsel as she extended to each the right hand of fellowship.”17

After the new members had been welcomed, Mrs. Eddy invited the worshippers to join in silent Communion. At one such service she said:

We welcome you to the table of our Lord; and beg that you come with due consideration of the magnitude of Christianity, its self-renunciation, heaven born hope, spiritual faith, God-guided understanding, purity, truth and Love.

Come thou to the Church of the new born as a little child — take hold of the hand of Jesus, obey his commands, follow his example, study the scriptures, and thou shalt go from strength to strength until thou arrive at the fullness of stature, for he hath said Lo! I am with thee alway even unto the end.18

At the church’s first Communion, January 4, 1880, just two members were admitted. The regular business meeting held two days earlier “for deliberation before Communion Sabbath was rather sorrowful; yet there was a feeling of trust in the great Father, of Love prevailing over the apparently discouraging outlook of the Church of Christ.”19

The “trust in the great Father” over the years was evident: twenty-three years later at the June 1903 Communion season 2,695 new members were admitted.20 By this time, the number of new members at each Communion was so large that the practice of reading each name was replaced by announcing the number of new members.

Before that change, however, the requirement of reading the names caused the date of a notable Communion Sunday to be moved up by one week: The dedication of the Original Edifice of The Mother Church — January 6, 1895 — was to have been a Communion Sunday. When it was realized that reading the names of 560 new members at each of the four services (one of them exclusively for children) would occupy too much time, Mrs. Eddy allowed Communion to be observed a week earlier, on December 30, 1894.

Thus the first service in the Original Edifice was a Communion service, and the first hymn sung there was Mrs. Eddy’s poem, “Communion Hymn.”

At this service Judge Septimus J. Hanna, who had been pastor for ten months, announced Mrs. Eddy’s directive that beginning with that Sunday the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures were to be the pastor of The Mother Church. Three months later, she ordained this “dual and impersonal pastor”21 as pastor of the branch churches as well.22

“My beloved church will not receive a Message from me this summer”

The printed programs that Sallie Loughridge and several thousand others received on June 28, 1903, contained something new. Where previous programs had announced a message from the Pastor Emeritus, the 1903 program announced instead a “Communion Sermon,” with the subject “Loving One Another.”

This was a departure, a break from previous years. The absence of a message from Mrs. Eddy in 1903 would not have come as a surprise to the congregation, as six weeks earlier she had stated: “My beloved church will not receive a Message from me this summer.”23

It was Mrs. Eddy, however, who provided the subject “Loving One Another,” and the Bible Lesson Committee compiled the sermon, which was used only in The Mother Church.24 For Communion day, Mrs. Eddy sent her church a short letter after all, powerful in its concentrated brevity.25 After the Doxology was sung, another letter from Mrs. Eddy was read, inviting the worshippers to Pleasant View the following day.

From 1903 through 1908, Mrs. Eddy provided the topics for Communion sermons for Mother Church services (see sidebar below). While The Mother Church no longer received long Communion messages from her, its Communion services were distinguished by having Communion sermons that were not used in branch churches.

Ten thousand gathered at Pleasant View on June 29, 1903, the day after Communion, to hear Mary Baker Eddy give a brief address. Photograph by R. W. Sears. Longyear Museum collection.

“The true animus of our church and denomination”

As the dedication of The Mother Church Extension on June 10, 1906, approached,Mary Baker Eddy sent a “Notice” to the members of The Mother Church:

Divine Love bids me say: Assemble not at the residence of your Pastor Emeritus at or about the time of our annual meeting and communion service, for the divine and not the human should engage our attention at this sacred season of prayer and praise.26

She explained to the Christian Science Board of Directors:

Now is the time to throttle the lie that students worship me or that I claim their homage. This historical dedication should date some special reform, and this notice is requisite to give the true animus of our church and denomination.27

Nevertheless, some disregarded Mrs. Eddy’s directive and went to Concord after Communion. One who did so wrote Mrs. Eddy of her “deep, if unavailing regret,” but also indicated that she had learned from her mistake.28

On June 30 Mrs. Eddy wrote “Personal Contagion.” Near the beginning she warned:

In time of religious or scientific prosperity, certain individuals are inclined to cling to the personality of its leader. This state of mind is sickly; it is a contagion — a mental malady, which must be met and overcome. Why? Because it would dethrone the First Commandment, Thou shalt have one God.29

A few days later, Mrs. Eddy amended a bylaw: henceforth there would be a general Communion in The Mother Church only once in three years. Local members of The Mother Church would, she provided, continue to observe an annual Communion.30 The “special reform” that would mark the “historical dedication” of the Extension apparently needed to take form as bylaw. The next Communion season would indicate whether or not it would be obeyed.

As the 1907 Communion season approached, the Sentinel reminded readers that there was to be “No Large Gathering in Boston This Year,” referring them to the bylaw providing for a triennial general Communion, and specifically pointing out that the next one would not be held until 1909. A similar notice appeared in 1908.31 In spite of the bylaw, in spite of the reminders, in spite of Mrs. Eddy’s article “Personal Contagion,” some 8,500 attended the 1907 Communion and 10,000 the 1908 Communion.32

During the 1908 Communion season, the thousands who had gathered even though it was not a general Communion inevitably focused some of their attention on Mrs. Eddy, now residing a few miles away in Chestnut Hill. Sensitive to thought and sharply aware of the spiritual issues at stake, Mrs. Eddy had been “suffering intensely for several days.”

Calling her secretary Adam Dickey to her office, she dictated the bylaw ending further Communion seasons in The Mother Church.33 Minutes afterward, she was at her desk, smiling and working “with her usual vigor.”34

“The Mother Church communion season was literally a communion of branch church communicants,” Mrs. Eddy explained to Judge Clifford Smith, First Reader of The Mother Church, “which might in time lose its sacredness and merge into a meeting for greetings.”35

As one looks back on the early 1900s from the perspective of a century, the “expressive silence” of Communion seems to have been largely drowned out by the surrounding activities. By abolishing the Communion season, Mrs. Eddy adjusted the balance and removed a temptation to turn the season “into a meeting for greetings.” That she did not abolish Communion services in branch churches suggests that her concern was not with the Communion service but with the danger of making the Communion season an occasion of denominational pride.

Mary Baker Eddy’s “Communion Hymn,” her Communion sermons, messages, and letters constitute a significant group within her writings. In these messages she takes note of world thought and conditions, of war and peace. She encourages her church during persecution and calls on it to remain steadfast to Spirit during prosperity. She sets forth her work as reformer in religion, in healing, and in science. And she sets forth the nature of Communion.

As Paul admonished the church in Corinth: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,”36 so in her 1901 Communion message Mrs. Eddy exhorted: “Follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ.” And the next year: “I again repeat, Follow your Leader, only so far as she follows Christ.”37

Mary Baker Eddy’s following of Christ stands out in bold relief as she abolished the Communion season, radically leading her followers to Christ’s table and from “the denominational to the doctrinal.”38

 


FEATURES OF COMMUNION SEASONS IN THE MOTHER CHURCH, LATE 1890s AND EARLY 1900s
  • Mary Baker Eddy prepared an annual Communion message, read in lieu of the Lesson-Sermon.
  • Visitors hoped that Mrs. Eddy herself might speak at Communion.
  • The day after Communion many went to Concord with expectation of seeing Mrs. Eddy.
  • Communion in The Mother Church was observed on a different Sunday from that of branch churches, which observed it on Sundays when the Lesson-Sermon was “Sacrament.”
  • New members were admitted to The Mother Church during the Communion season.
  • From 1903 through 1908, The Mother Church Communion used a specially prepared sermon (not used in the branches), with subjects furnished by Mrs. Eddy.

 

“SOLEMN AND SILENT SELF-EXAMINATION”

Bylaws of Mrs. Eddy’s church, 1879, describe Communion:

The sacrament shall be observed…by a short interval of solemn and silent self-examination by each member, as to his or her fitness to be called a follower of Christ, Truth; as to his real state of love toward man, and fellowship and communion with Christ; as to whether he is gaining in the understanding and demonstration of Truth and Love, coming out from the world and being separated from error; growing less selfish, more charitable and spiritual, yea, walking worthy [of] his high calling. It shall be observed by silent prayer after the manner that casts out error and heals the sick, and by sacred resolutions to partake of the bread that cometh down from heaven, and to drink of his cup of sorrows and earthly persecutions, patiently for Christ’s sake (Truth’s sake), knowing that if we suffer for righteousness, we are blessed of our Father.

The Christian Science Journal, 7 (August 1889), 259.

 

Eye-witness to Mrs. Eddy’s Communion address in The Mother Church on January 5, 1896

Twenty-four-year-old Emma Shipman writes her sister, Helena, on the day of Mrs. Eddy’s visit.

My dear Lena:

This has been such a glorious day…. Mrs. Eddy came this morning….

The first of the service was as usual except that the collection came after the second hymn. Then as soon as the ushers were seated, the organ played some beautiful overture and Mrs. Eddy came in the left hand door with Dr. [E. J. Foster] Eddy by her side. They went in where the singers [the choir] do and came out on the platform, Mrs. Eddy being seated in the big chair. (All the church stood as they entered the first door and were seated as she was seated.)

Mrs. Eddy…talked first of Jesus and his great love and work for us…. Then she talked of the Bible as “Holy Writ” and it seemed as if every one must love the Bible and Jesus….

We all knelt in silent prayer when she finished, (you know it is communion Sunday) and then repeated the Lord’s prayer together. Then we rose and sang hymn 35. Mrs. Eddy pronounced the benediction…. The audience stood and the organ played while they went out.

I think she wore the same gown as before but it had black lace looped on the shoulders and she didn’t wear that white lace. Her hair was arranged the same but she wore two little gold side combs and a gold back comb instead of the jewel. I never saw such grace and sweet meekness in any one in the world. Only one who has lived her unselfish life could show it….

Original letter from Emma Shipman to her sister, Helena, January 5, 1896, describing Mary Baker Eddy’s Communion address in The Mother Church on the same day. Longyear Museum collection. Top: Photograph of Emma Shipman, circa 1899. Longyear Museum collection.

 

PORTIONS OF MRS. EDDY’S COMMUNION SERMONS AND REMARKS FIND A LASTING PLACE IN Science and Health

On March 21, 1886, Mrs. Eddy preached a Communion sermon; her text was from Luke’s account of the Last Supper: “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). She spoke of the derivation of the word “sacrament” from the Latin sacramentum, referring to a soldier’s oath of allegiance.* She also mentioned the origin of Passover in commemorating the escape of the Children of Israel from Egyptian bondage.

Mrs. Eddy revisited these themes in another Communion sermon, on June 19, 1887. The following year she added a page-and-a-half of new material to Science and Health (thirty-fifth printing, 1888,  508–510; in the final edition of Science and Health, these paragraphs are at 24:15–19; 25:3–6; 32:3–14, 28–2; 34:29–18). This new material has subject matter and wording traceable to Mrs. Eddy’s Communion sermons and remarks.

*The Oxford Classical Dictionary cites an ancient author that the sacramentum was “the most strictly observed of all Roman oaths” and adds that since the reign of Augustus “the oath was renewed annually…. In the Christian empire soldiers swore much the same oath but by God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost.” The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Third Edition Revised (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 1343.

The first service in The Mother Church Extension, June 10, 1906, was both a Communion and dedication service. When the long-awaited Extension was ready for its first service, the printed sheets with Golden Text, Responsive Reading and Lesson-Sermon citations gave prominence to the Communion service (see above).

 

COMMUNION SERMONS AND MESSAGES IN MARY BAKER EDDY’S PUBLISHED WRITINGS
  • 1880s: Portions of Communion sermons and remarks before Communion are included in Science and Health in 35th edition, 1888 (in final edition: 24:15–19; 25:3–6; 32:3–14, 28–2; 34:29–18).
  • 1888 December 23: “The Personal and the Impersonal Saviour” (retitled “The Corporeal and Incorporeal Saviour”), “A Christmas Sermon,” Mis. W., 161.
  • 1896 January 5: Communion Address, January, 1896 (Mis. W., 161).
  • 1898 January 2: Communion, January 2, 1898 (Miscellany, 121).
  • 1898 June 5: Not Pantheism, but Christian Science (published as Christian Science versus Pantheism; Pastor’s Message to The Mother Church, on the Occasion of the June Communion, 1898).
  • 1899 June 4: Communion, June 4, 1899 (Miscellany, 124).
  • 1900 June 3: Message for 1900.
  • 1901 June 23: Message for 1901.
  • 1902 June 15: Message for 1902: The Old and the New Commandment.
  • 1903 June 28: Letter of the Pastor Emeritus (Miscellany, 133).
  • 1904 June 12: Communion, 1904 (Miscellany, 15).

 

COMMUNION LESSON-SERMONS IN THE MOTHER CHURCH; SUBJECTS BY MARY BAKER EDDY
  • 1903 June 28: Loving One Another
  • 1904 June 12: Obedience
  • 1905 June 11: “All Things Whatsoever Ye Would That Men Should Do to You, Do Ye.”
  • 1906 June 10: Adam, Where Art Thou? (Mrs. Eddy sends Dedicatory Message, “Choose Ye”)
  • 1907 June 9: The First and Great Commandment; and the Second Which Is Like Unto It.
  • 1908 June 14: Works

 

COMMUNION DOXOLOGY

The Doxology, so familiar as the final hymn in branch church Communion services today, officially became part of the order of service in 1899, through a bylaw from Mary Baker Eddy, although she had used it in church services in the 1880s.

The words of the Doxology are from a metrical version of Psalm 57:5, by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady (A New Version of the Psalms of David, Fitted to the Tunes used in Churches, 1696). Tate and Brady’s version is not a translation of the Psalms but a free paraphrase prepared for singing.

Mrs. Eddy revised the last line. Where Tate and Brady had written:

So let it be on earth displayed,
Till Thou art here, as there, obeyed.

Mrs. Eddy revised the lines to read:

So let it be on earth displayed,
Till Thou art here and now obeyed.

The Christian Science Publishing Society produced inserts of the Doxology that could be pasted in the Christian Science Hymnal:

Slips containing the words and music of the Communion Doxology, suitable for insertion in the Hymnal, will be furnished at 50 cents per hundred, prepaid. This can be placed in the Hymnals now in use. The Doxology will be printed in future editions. [Sentinel, 2 (March 23, 1900), 464]

The words of the Doxology as revised by Mrs. Eddy are published in the Church Manual, 126.

 

DIFFERENT COMMUNION SUNDAYS FOR THE MOTHER CHURCH AND ITS BRANCHES

The Mother Church and branch churches observed Communion on different Sundays. By 1899 The Mother Church would hold Communion on the first Sunday in June, and branches on the second Sunday in June and December.

When Mrs. Eddy provided the 26 Lesson-Sermon topics in July 1898, the placement of “Sacrament” reflected the branch church Communion in June and December, with “Sacrament” occurring late in the cycle, just after “God, the Preserver of Man.”

In 1903 Mrs. Eddy changed the dates of branch church Communion to the second Sunday in January and July. With this change, “Sacrament” moved to its current position near the beginning of the Lesson- Sermon cycle. The Mother Church Communion continued to be held in June until its abolishment in 1908.

— James Suber, Research Assistant

Notes


  1. Christian Science Sentinel, 5 (August 1, 1903), 768. Reprinted in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, 603–604.
  2. When this testimony was included in Science and Health, this and two other sentences were omitted. For Mrs. Eddy’s letter, see “Letter of the Pastor Emeritus, June, 1903,” The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, 133–134. For her address, see “Address at Pleasant View, June, 1903,”Miscellany, 170–171.
  3. Sentinel, 5 (July 4, 1903), 697.
  4. “The Golden Rule,” Sentinel, 5 (May 30, 1903), 620. As the editorial was published prior to the Communion season, impromptu testimony meetings in hotel lobbies had evidently been a problem for some time.
  5. Miscellany, 170.
  6. “Admission and Communion,” The Christian Science Journal, 4 (April 1886), 14. The Communion was held on March 21, 1886.
  7. “Christian Scientists’ Christmas Communion,” Journal, 6 (January 1889), 525. This Communion was held on December 23, 1888. There is some ambiguity as to whether “bowed”might imply kneeling. On the other hand, the word “bowed”may reflect wording of the passage in Science and Health quoted in the article (page 35 in the final edition).
  8. Mary Baker Eddy, “Questions Answered,” Journal, 9 (March 1892), 487. In May 1896 Mrs. Eddy provided the order of services for both The Mother Church and its branches; item 10 reads: “Kneeling in silent Communion; concluding with audible repetition of the Lord’s Prayer (spiritual interpretation omitted).” “Take Notice,” Journal, 14 (May 1896), 52. The order of service was reprinted in the Sentinel, 1 (February 23, 1899), 4, and Journal, 16 (March 1899), 874–876. The wording of the 1896 order of service concerning kneeling is close to that provided by Mary Baker Eddy in the Manual of the Mother Church, 126.
  9. The Journal provides an account of a congregation’s kneeling at an April 1889 service in Marinette, Wisconsin, conducted by the Reverend Lanson P. Norcross. Journal, 7 (June 1889), 147. After Mrs. Eddy resigned as pastor of the church in Boston in May 1889, the Reverend Norcross served as pastor from August 1889 until February 1893. See Mrs. Eddy’s letter to the church in Oconto, where he had been pastor, Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, 149–150.
  10. Sentinel, 1 (June 8, 1899), 5.
  11. A10584, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection, The Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, Massachusetts. Punctuation silently added.
  12. Miscellaneous Writings, 124.
  13. “By Laws” of the Church of Christ (Scientist), Article 9, ECR13.01. The Mary Baker Eddy Collection. Reprinted with minor alteration in Journal, 7 (August 1889), 260.
  14. Regarding reading the Tenets, see Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 2, 40; Art. XVIII, Sect. 2, 61; item 6, 125; after item 15, 126. Regarding signing one’s name to the Tenets: Manual, 15:1 and Application Forms, 114–119. Branch churches customarily received new members on Communion Sundays; see, for example, Annie M. Knott’s editorial, “Entering the Fold,” which begins: “On last Sunday all the branch churches of our denomination were observing the Communion, at which service new members are received after having promised fealty to the tenets of the Mother Church.” Sentinel, 6 (July 16, 1904), 729.
  15. Journal, 4 (April 1886), 14.
  16. Galatians 2:9. Mrs. Eddy opens her Communion Message for 1901: “Beloved Brethren, to-day I extend my heart-and-hand fellowship to the faithful….”
  17. This woman, known to us by her initials A. T. A., had begun reading Science and Health, unaware that the author was a family member of her former neighbors in Tilton, New Hampshire.When she read of the healing of Mrs. Eddy’s niece, Ellen Pilsbury, which at that time was included in the text of Science and Health, she was taken aback: Why had she never heard of this healing? She asked one of Mrs. Eddy’s relatives for confirmation and was told that the healing was correctly narrated in Science and Health. A. T. A. mentioned the high regard in which Mrs. Eddy’s family was held in the community, recalling “dear Grandpa Baker [Mrs. Eddy’s father], as we called him, when receiving apples from him in our schooldays, down to the acts of benevolence and generosity from other members of the family who were among the first people of our town.” “An Interesting Testimonial,” Journal, 13 (June 1895), 111–112.
  18. A10728, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection.
  19. Miscellany, 50. The Manual provides for two semi-annual meetings to elect members: the Friday before the first Sunday in June and the first Friday in November. Manual, Art. XIII, Sect. 2, 56–57.
  20. Sentinel, 5 (July 4, 1903), 698.
  21. The complete sentence reads: “Your dual and impersonal pastor, the Bible, and ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,’ is with you; and the Life these give, the Truth they illustrate, the Love they demonstrate, is the great Shepherd that feedeth my flock, and leadeth them ‘beside the still waters.’”Miscellaneous Writings, 322.
  22. Mary Baker Eddy, “Church and School,” Miscellaneous Writings, 313. Originally published in Journal, 13 (April 1895), 1.
  23. “Question Answered,” Sentinel, 5 (May 16, 1903), 588; Miscellany, 133.
  24. The citations were printed in Sentinel, 5 (June 20, 1903), 663.
  25. “Letter of the Pastor Emeritus, June, 1903,” Miscellany, 133. After the singing of the Doxology, the First Reader, Hermann Hering, read Mrs. Eddy’s invitation to visit Pleasant View the next day. Ten thousand went, and at 1:30 in the afternoon Mrs. Eddy stepped onto the balcony to address the crowd, beginning, “Beloved Brethren: — Welcome home! To your home in my heart!” “Address at Pleasant View, June, 1903,” Miscellany, 170.
  26. Miscellany, 27.
  27. Miscellany, 26.
  28. Ann Delia Pease to Mary Baker Eddy, September 15, 1906, Sentinel, 9 (October 20, 1906), 122.
  29. Miscellany, 116. Mrs. Eddy described this article as “one of the most important things of thought I ever expressed.” Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1977), 258.
  30. Sentinel, 8 (July 14, 1906), 732.
  31. Sentinel, 9 (May 18, 1907), 702, and “No General Gathering in Boston This Year,” Sentinel, 10 (May 16, 1908), 730.
  32. Sentinel, 9 (June 15, 1907), 783, and 10 (June 20, 1908), 823. These numbers may be greater than the actual attendance, as some people would have attended each of the two services held on Communion Sunday. In 1908, it was estimated that six thousand attended the morning service and four thousand the afternoon service.
  33. Manual, Art. XVIII, Sect. 1, 61. About this time Mrs. Eddy also provided the bylaw prohibiting the reporting of the number of members of The Mother Church and of branch churches. Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 28, 48.
  34. Adam H. Dickey, Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy (Brookline: Lillian S. Dickey, 1927), 118. Four years earlier, Mrs. Eddy had written: “Had I never suffered for The Mother Church, neither she nor I would be practising the virtues that lie concealed in the smooth seasons and calms of human existence.” Miscellany, 166. See also Robert Peel, Authority, 317–319, and Martha W. Wilcox, “A Worker in Mrs. Eddy’s Chestnut Hill Home,” We Knew Mary Baker Eddy (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1979), 203 (475 in 2011 edition).
  35. Miscellany, 142.
  36. I Corinthians 11:1.
  37. Message to The Mother Church for 1901, 34; Message to The Mother Church for 1902, 4.
  38. Miscellany, 139. Mrs. Eddy wrote the letter containing this phrase a few days after abolishing the Communion season. Her letter was in connection with discontinuing meetings of the Executive Members, which for some years had been held the day before Communion. From the context, it is clear that Mrs. Eddy is here using “doctrinal” in a positive sense; the full sentence reads: “It was to turn your sense of worship from the material to the spiritual, the personal to the impersonal, the denominational to the doctrinal, yea, from the human to the divine.”

This article was originally published in the 2012 spring/summer Report to Members.

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