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Questions often arise regarding the reading of hymns prior to singing them in church services

From the October 2008 issue of The Christian Science Journal

On March 3, 1903, Mary Baker Eddy wrote to the Christian Science Board of Directors, suggesting that it "would be a good thing" to have one of her hymns "read and sung about every Sunday" in The Mother Church. During Mrs. Eddy's lifetime, the Christian Science Hymnal contained only five of her hymns. ("Love" and "Satisfied" were not added to the Hymnal until 1932.) At the time her letter was written, the First Reader of The Mother Church infrequently selected Mrs. Eddy's hymns to be sung because many in the congregation disliked the music to which the hymns were set. The letter reads in part as follows:

"That tunes liked or disliked should rule in or out of our church words like those in my Hymns—has been a sad experience for me and I rejoice that the Christian spirit is calling these words back to remembrance. One of the wealthiest and most devout members of this church has recently requested me to have my Hymns sung more frequently in the Mother Church. It would be a good thing to have one of my Hymns read and sung about every Sunday. It would spiritualize the thought of your audience and this is more needed in the church than aught else can be" (L00326, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection).

Regarding the phrase, "read and sung," in the letter, it seems likely that Mrs. Eddy was not singling out her hymns for special treatment by asking that they be read as well as sung, since evidence in the collection suggests that all hymns in The Mother Church during that period were probably read in their entirety before being sung.

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