A letter to the Los Angeles Times some years ago in response to a thought-provoking article about church caught my attention. The writer of the letter, who identified herself as a member of a Protestant denomination, lamented that her denomination had gone through what she called a “dumbing-down process.” She mentioned that this seemed to be behind the general decrease in churchgoers and went on to say that “if spiritual needs were really being met, they would stay.” She ended, “We think there is a need for more Christianity in our churches and less churchianity.”
For members of any Christian denomination, the letter suggests an urgency in thinking about the purpose and goals of Church. It impelled me to think more deeply about Christian Science branch churches, the organizational details and tasks, or what might be considered the
“churchianity” aspects, in relation to the mission of Christian Science to meet the spiritual needs of mankind—what undoubtedly might be considered the Christianity aspects.
Exploring Christianity and churchianity side by side inspired my taking a closer look at: the community of early Christian followers; how centuries later Mary Baker Eddy established the Church of Christ, Scientist; and on what basis Christian Science branch churches were organized and how they function.