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Mary Baker Eddy: The Role of Leader

From the January 1977 issue of The Christian Science Journal

The discovery of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy occupies a definable period in the calendar of history. So does her founding of Christian Science. So does her writing of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and of the Manual of The Mother Church. Without our necessarily pinpointing exact dates, each of these three activities began and has now ended. Each of them continues to bear fresh fruit in human thought and action as we gain new insights into them at ever-deeper levels; but the discovery and founding of Christian Science are now complete, and no changes can be made in Mrs. Eddy's text of Science and Health or of the Church Manual.

With Mrs. Eddy's leadership of the Christian Science movement it is different. This leadership has no chronological end. It is ongoing and will so remain. On June 3, 1891, the year before Mrs. Eddy reorganized her church as The First Church of Christ, Scientist, a letter from Mrs. Eddy was read at a gathering of her students in Boston. It assured those present: "I am still with you on the field of battle, taking forward marches, broader and higher views, and with the hope that you will follow." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 136; Some two years earlier Mrs. Eddy had moved from Boston to Concord, New Hampshire, and she was to reside in Concord for nearly twenty years; but here she gave notice of her intentions. She had not left the field of her labors or relinquished her leadership.

On Sunday, December 4, 1910, the congregation at morning service in The Mother Church heard an announcement, read from the platform just before the closing benediction. This announcement told of Mrs. Eddy's passing the previous night, and her words quoted above were included in it. From now on The Christian Science Board of Directors, which Mrs. Eddy had established, and the other officers of The Mother Church would bear a new degree of responsibility for discharging the duties Mrs. Eddy had assigned them in the Church Manual. But as Leader of the Christian Science movement, Mary Baker Eddy remained and would remain where she had always been, at the head of her followers.