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Church in Action

Churches: homes away from home

From the July 1980 issue of The Christian Science Journal


One aspect of a branch church that's sometimes overlooked is the role it has as a "home away from home" for travelers. St. Paul and his colleagues must have felt great joy when they arrived at Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica, or one of the other scattered places where Christian churches were located. After weeks or even months of travel, their appetite for the community of Christians was whetted, and their appreciation for the members who kept things going and provided this haven for them and others must have been heartfelt.

Of course branch churches are primarily for members and for the surrounding community. But they are welcome, too, as way stations for those on a journey, and often play an important role in refreshing the traveler's spiritual sense.

A few years ago, one traveler in a country where branch churches are far apart decided to forgo church services, thinking that a careful reading of the Lesson Sermon
In the Christian Science Quarterly; on Sundays and making up her own readings on Wednesday nights was enough. But the trip seemed plagued with difficulties—money problems, accidents, poor decisions. Finally, she came upon this passage in Retrospection and Introspection, where Mrs. Eddy writes, "Itinerancy should not be allowed to clip the wings of divine Science."
Ret., p. 88; The traveler realized from this statement that her priority had been to put the itinerary first and her church second, and this for no particular reason. From that moment on, she reversed the process and soon found her trip was making connections in every possible way.