The Christian Science Journal, August 1889
Church of Christ (Scientist), Boston.
Historical Sketch of the Church.
In the spring of 1879, a little band of earnest seekers after truth went into deliberations over forming a church without creeds, called the “Church of Christ, Scientist.” Being members of Evangelical churches, and students of Mary Baker G. Eddy’s in metaphysics, or Christian Science, and its application to the treatment of disease, they were known as Christian Scientists. In the winter of 1878 they had reorganized the “Christian Scientists’ Association” of 1875, and, while walking through deep waters of affliction, went steadily on, increasing in numbers, and finding at every new experience that hitherto the Lord hath helped us.
At a meeting of the “Christian Scientists’ Association,'” April 19, 1879, on motion of Mrs. Eddy, it was unanimously Voted, — to organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity, and its lost element of healing.
She was appointed on the Committee to draft the Tenets of the church — whose chief corner-stone is the Divine Science taught and demonstrated by our Master, which casts out error, and heals the sick. “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.”
The charter for the church was obtained June, 1879, and the same month the members, twenty-six in number, extended a call to Mary B. G. Eddy to become their pastor. She accepted the call, and was ordained A. D. 1881.
Below are published (1) the agreement subscribed by the persons who united to form the Boston Church of Christ (Scientist). (2) The notice sent in accordance with the requirements of the Statutes of the State of Massachusetts, to the signers of the agreement. (3) The affidavit required by the Statutes, of the notice of meeting for the constitution of the Church. (4) The minutes of the meeting of August 16, 1879, at which the Church was constituted. (5) The Tenets of the Church. (6) By-Laws or Regulations.
These documents in which the name of our Teacher appears as the founder of the First Church of Christ (Scientist) are reproduced to place clearly before all who are considering the question of Church organization, the leading requirements; also to afford the models for Tenets and By-Laws, as they have come from her hand.
But they have a further interest that will deepen with every year. It is already perceived that our epoch is historic, and they form an interesting chapter in the early history of Christian Science. By the present publication all Scientists are made acquainted with these important documents, and they are preserved in an authentic and complete form, for future use and reference.
The Following is a copy of the Agreement of the members of the Christian Scientists’ Association of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, entered into for the constitution of the church that was to be known as “The Church of Christ (Scientist).” The drawing up and signing of such an agreement is the first step towards the incorporation of any church.
“We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do by this agreement associate ourselves with the intention to constitute a corporation according to the provisions of the three hundred and seventy-fifth chapter of the Acts of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, passed in the year eighteen hundred and seventy-four, approved June twenty-seventh in said year, and the Acts in amendment thereof and in addition thereto.
The name by which the corporation shall be known is the “Church of Christ (Scientist).”
The purpose for which the corporation is constituted is to carry on and transact the business necessary to sustain the worship of God.
The place within which the corporation is established or located is the City of Boston within said Commonwealth. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands this sixth day of August, in the year eighteeen hundred and seventy-nine.”
Signed by Mary B. G. Eddy and others.
After the signing of the agreement, August 6, 1879, it was required that notice be given by one of the signers, of a meeting to be held not less than seven days from the date of notice. This meeting was for the purposes set forth in the record of its proceedings.
The following notice is a copy of the one sent to the signers of the agreement.
“Lynn, Aug. 9, 1879.
“Notice is hereby given that the meeting of the proprietors of the Church of Christ (Scientist), will be holden August 16, at the house of Mrs. —, at 5 P.M., for the purpose of organizing a Church and transacting such other legal business as may come before said meeting.” (One of the signers of agreement).
Mary B. G. Eddy.
On the day of the evening for which the meeting was called, affidavit was made before a Magistrate to the sending of the notice, as follows:
“Aug. 16, 1879.”
“Then personally appeared Mary B. G. Eddy and made oath that she served the notice of the first meeting of the Church of Christ as herein recorded by mail seven days before said meeting.”
Signed, Mary B. G. Eddy.
Suffolk, S. S.
A . H . S., Justice of the Peace.
The minutes of the meeting of August 16, open as follows:
“Pursuant to the notice given by mail at Lynn, Mass., seven days before said meeting, the proprietors of the Church of Christ met at the time and place notified. The meeting was called to order by Mrs. M. B. G. Eddy, and proceeded to the following business.
The agreement of Association was read. The notice of meeting was read, and the meeting unanimously elected Mary B. G. Eddy as chairman.
The Tenets and By-Laws were read, and accepted by unanimous vote. (Also signed.)
As these By-Laws call for the election of officers, the members present proceeded to elect the officers as follows:”
Then follow the records of the election of officers. The church was thus regularly constituted, with Articles or Tenets, By-Laws, and the Board of Officers provided for therein. The following are the
To be signed by those uniting with the Church of Christ (Scientist). First. — As adherents of Truth, we take the Scriptures for our guide to Life.
Second. — We acknowledge one Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, — one God, the brotherhood of man, and Divine Science. And the forgiveness of sin, which is the destruction of sin. And the atone- ment of Christ, which is the efficacy of Truth and Life. And the way of salvation marked out by Jesus healing the sick, casting out devils [evils], and raising the dead, — uplifting a dead faith into Life and Love.
Third. — We promise to love one another, and to work, watch, and pray; to strive against sin, and to keep the Ten Commandments; to deal justly, love mercy, walk humbly; and inasmuch as we are enabled by Truth, to cast out error, and heal the sick.
Finally follows the
Rules and Regulations, or By-Laws of the Church of Christ (Scien- tist), of Boston, Founded by Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy.*
(* The order of arrangement of the sections has been changed, and some verbal alterations made to adapt to general use. — Editor.)
1. This church shall be known as the ” Church of Christ” (Scientist), and shall have the following officers: Pastor, Five Directors, Treasurer and Clerk.
2. This church shall meet for public worship on the Sabbath. Its members shall raise the Pastor’s salary, and pay it monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually, as may be agreed. They shall provide a place for public worship, shall provide singing books, and support church music. The Pastor of this church must be able to heal the sick after the manner of Christian Science, must be strictly moral, and an earnest and devoted follower of Christ’s Truth.
3. The Church invocation shall be the Lord’s Prayer and silent prayer.
4. The sacrament shall be observed not oftener than once in two months, 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 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.
5. There shall be a meeting on the Friday before the sacrament for general business. Seven persons shall constitute a quorum in all cases at the business meetings.
6. The directors of this church shall be put on the following committees for carrying on the church work, — Examining, Business, and Collection committees, of three members each.
7. There shall be a Clerk to keep account of the doings of the Church; of the names and dates of presentation of candidates; a record of the Committee of the Church; to submit from time to time a statement of the funds as reported by the Treasurer; to notify members of special church meetings unless it is done from the desk of the Church. Special meetings may be called by a notice given from the pulpit on two consecutive Sundays, or through notices mailed in sealed envelopes eight days prior to such special meeting.
8. There shall be a Treasurer of the Church, who shall receive all funds, and hold them ready for appropriation, keeping an account thereof.
9. The Business Committee shall attend to the general business of the Church, that is not specified in the duties of other committees.
10. The Collection Committee shall obtain contributions and donations, and present at the annual meeting a written report of the sums collected, which shall be placed on the files of the Church.
11. It shall be the duty of the Examining Committee to satisfy themselves as to the proper qualifications of all church candidates coming with or without certificates, and attend to business relative thereto.
12. The committees shall present their reports in writing at the annual meeting of the church in December.
13. The candidates shall be propounded at the regular evening meeting next before the sacrament. The church shall vote on the question of receiving the candidates, on condition that they shall subscribe to the Tenets of the church. Candidates shall be taken on probation or not at the discretion of the examining committee.
14. On the Sacramental Sabbath the Tenets of the Church shall be read in the presence of the congregation to those who are to be received, to which the candidates shall signify their consent.
15. The Pastor shall declare publicly the names of those who have been received by certificate, and the names of the Church to which they belonged.
16. The discipline of this church shall be what is contained in the 18th chapter of St. Matthew, 15, 16, and 17th verses. Any member not meeting the requirements of these Articles shall be liable to expulsion.
17. A letter of dismission shall be granted to any member of this Church in good standing, who removes so far from the place of meeting as to excuse in the opinion of a majority of the members present at any meeting his attendance on its services.
18. On the evening of the first Monday in December in each year, the annual meeting of the church shall be holden for the choice of officers by ballot, and for the transaction of other pending business.
19. These by-laws may be amended or repealed, and new ones made at any regular Church business meeting, if this be proposed at a previous meeting of like character.
20. Additional officers can be chosen at any Church business meeting.The Christian Science Journal, Vol. 7, No. 5, August 1889 258 Christian Science Journal.