AFTER OUR CHURCH BURNED DOWN IN JUNE OF 2002, we had to rethink everything. At the top of our list: where to hold services. We knew that First Church of Christ, Scientist, fulfilled a special purpose in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and we refused to give up. Immediately we held some Sunday services and Wednesday evening testimony meetings in our Christian Science Reading Room.
Then, at the invitation of the other Christian Science congregation in Calgary—Third Church—we teamed up to hold services jointly in their building. Sunday morning services went forward as usual. But the members of First Church wanted to continue contributing something to the community, as well. So in addition to the testimony meeting that already took place in the evening at Third Church in the northern part of the city, the idea to hold noontime testimony meetings at our southside Reading Room quickly evolved. Perhaps then, we thought, we can serve people in the community who cannot visit during the evenings.
Not only the time, but the location, was key. The Reading Room, located just three blocks from where our church building had stood—on the edge of a trendy neighborhood (think high-end restaurants and boutiques)—opens its doors each morning to the whole gamut of people in our community. This steady clientele includes a substantial immigrant population, customers from the florist shop and hair salon on either side of our building—and some street people from the neighborhood. We knew that both the new time of our Wednesday testimony meetings and the new location for the services in our Reading Room instead of our church, would give us the opportunity to make our church services more intimate and informal.