I was raised in Christian Science and was connected to church from the start, being cared for in our branch church’s nursery on Sundays and Wednesdays. I joined The Mother Church when I was 12 because I had seen my two older sisters do it and it seemed like the cool thing to do. I thought that joining The Mother Church was something that almost everyone in the Christian Science community did, but I was very unaware of the responsibilities which joining entailed.
It wasn’t until my college years that I began digging deep into my study and practice of
Christian Science, examining the importance of this allegiance I had made to The Mother Church. I then realized that being a member wasn’t just a title you were given, or a way to gain opportunities (such as internships or scholarships). It was a responsibility, a good one, and that made me feel like an active part of the Christian Science community.
I realized that being a member wasn’t just a title you were given.
When people become a member of an organization, it’s generally for the benefit of receiving certain perks or rewards. But to me, being a member of The Mother Church is for the benefit of giving; it’s a wonderful opportunity to give back to the Church and show thanks and appreciation for Christian Science. And when I give back, I feel a strong sense of connection with the other members. This, in a way, is the gift I receive for having become a member.
I do not live near The Mother Church, but I still feel that sense of unity with all members when I devote my time to aiding my branch church. Whether it be ushering, teaching Sunday School, or helping maintain the church grounds, I am always finding ways to show my gratitude, and when I do, I feel that strong connection to the Church. If we give wholeheartedly to our Church, we will inevitably be fulfilling Mary Baker Eddy’s idea of a Christian Scientist. She wrote, “A Christian Scientist is a humanitarian; he is benevolent, forgiving, long-suffering, and seeks to overcome evil with good” (Church Manual, pp. 46–47). For me, this serves as a reminder to be open to serving church in whatever way is needed. Even though sometimes it’s tempting to want to be in church rather than teach Sunday School, I know that if we are always willing to give, we will receive an abundance of good.
Eric Pagett is a recent college graduate living in San Luis Obispo, California.
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