Website guidelines

Last updated: April 20, 2017

These guidelines are provided to help support and protect Christian Science branch churches as they create websites. Within some legal limits, what you show on your website is largely up to your own inspiration in responding to the needs of your community. Please note that these guidelines are not meant as legal advice specific to the needs of your church. Instead, they are meant to help you identify potential issues with your website.

Since many of the products and publications sold by The First Church of Christ, Scientist and its affiliate The Christian Science Publishing Society (“TFCCS”) include rights owned by third parties and/or TFCCS, these guidelines are provided to help branch churches identify and avoid problems relating to copyright and trademark infringement, or other legal concerns.

These guidelines may not address every issue relating to your website activity. Please check this page periodically for updates, and let us know if you have any suggestions for topics to add or ways to make these guidelines more helpful.

Please read these guidelines carefully. As a general rule, if these guidelines do not give express permission to use something in a particular way, please contact info@christianscience.com for further information.

Something you might consider when establishing your website is how to make it unique for your local area. Ideally, your website would invite people to visit your branch church, as well as to come to your Reading Room, where they can explore publications and products from TFCCS, and meet Christian Scientists who can discuss applying Christian Science from their own experience.

Linking to TFCCS websites and using their materials

Information about linking to and using content from the websites and publications of TFCCS, such as ChristianScience.com, The Christian Science Monitor, Christian Science JSH-Online, and MBELibrary.org, can be found in the Terms of Service or Permissions guidelines on their respective websites. For specific guidelines on reusing our content, including content from our other websites, please visit our Permissions page. Guidelines for ChristianScience.com will be at the top of the Permissions page, and you can find links to guidelines for our other sites at the bottom of the Permissions page.

Use of Bible Lessons

The Bible Lessons published in the Christian Science Quarterly (“Quarterly”) are copyrighted by The Christian Science Publishing Society (“CSPS”), and are not authorized for posting on the Internet. However, in the context of announcing Sunday Services on a branch church website, you may post the Subject, Golden Text and Responsive Reading for a current or future Bible Lesson (not more than 2 weeks in advance of the relevant Sunday), provided that you include a credit to the Quarterly and the particular Bible used, whether the King James Version or any other. Please also include a link to the Quarterly website, www.biblelesson.com, to provide your website’s visitors with more context and information about the Bible Lessons. Finally, please take down the Subject, Golden Text and Responsive Reading within one week after the applicable week of the Lesson has ended.

Use of materials from TFCCS not provided for web use

Only materials specifically designated as approved by TFCCS for third-party web use may be used on websites (or in other electronic formats). Any other materials and/or uses require express permission. To request permission, please email info@christianscience.com. Please note that the use of materials by TFCCS on its own websites, including on this Site, does not mean such materials are authorized for use by third parties or on other websites.

Timeliness of websites

Please try to keep any date-sensitive materials relatively current on your website.

Use of testimonies not published by the CSPS

Christian Scientists are encouraged to send their testimonies of healing to the Journal, Sentinel, or Herald for verification and publication in the CSPS periodicals. Mary Baker Eddy called the periodicals “the organs of this Church” in the Church Manual, and she also vested the Christian Science Board of Directors with the duty “to see that these periodicals are ably edited and kept abreast of the times.” (see Art. 8, Sect. 14).

Mary Baker Eddy established the CSPS as the primary publishing activity for her Church. Since 1883, the CSPS periodicals have served the vital role of publishing testimonies. The CSPS publishes testimonies only after they have been verified by others who know of the testifier’s healing or can verify the integrity of the testifier in sharing his or her healing.

This verification process supports the factual accuracy and credibility of the testimonies published in the periodicals, which become permanent additions to the official record of Christian Science healing.

Branch churches should give careful consideration before choosing to post testimonies that have not been published by the CSPS and should observe the following guidelines:

1. Only post testimonies from members of your branch church, and not pick up testimonies from unrelated branches or third parties.

2. Be sure the testimony is related in a way that would be understandable to someone new to Christian Science and that you can verify the integrity of the account of the healing experience.

3. Post your members’ testimonies under a notice akin to the following:

“The following testimonies are given by members of our local [Location] church who have experienced healing through sole reliance on Christian Science. You are invited to visit our Sunday church services or Wednesday testimony meetings to learn more about Christian Science and healing.”

4. If your branch wishes to post links to testimonies or articles from Christian Science JSH-Online, you may post up to five links in accordance with its Terms of Service and Permissions information. Please distinguish your members’ testimonies from those published by CSPS by posting the following notice as an introduction to the links to Christian Science JSH-Online:

“To explore an official collection of healings which have been verified and are happening all over the world, visit jsh.christianscience.com.”

5. Your branch should notify your local Christian Science Committee on Publication whenever you plan to post testimonies from your members online.

Use of images of people and images obtained from third parties

We encourage being careful when using images of recognizable individuals, even when such images are licensed from photo stock agencies. We have found that license terms from these agencies often do not provide adequate legal protection in the form of model releases (permission from individuals in the photo) or do not permit promotional or advertising use, such as on websites. Incorrect use of photos can subject the creator and owner of the website to legal liability. Please note that permission from those visible in the photo is also required even when you take your own photos.

Depicting youth

Please be particularly sensitive to images of and testimonies by youth. Young people, and images of them, have different legal requirements and potential ramifications than those of adults.

Promoting products other than the periodicals

Images of covers of books, CDs and other products distributed by CSPS, which are posted on the Online Shop, may be used for purposes of promoting the sale of those products, provided that the covers must be presented along with the descriptions of those products found on the Online Shop, rather than devising your own descriptions. However, these images may not be used at a size larger than they appear on the Online Shop, or used for other purposes or in other contexts, such as to provide pleasing design elements, illustrate metaphysical points, etc. Cover images may only be used in full. No use of images from the interior of books and other products may be used without specific permission. Please contact permissions@csps.com.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The magazines and other publications from TFCCS and CSPS have been carefully edited. Please do not editorialize or republish TFCCS or CSPS products and publications. In some countries, legal consequences can result from making claims which can be construed as having a medical nature (for example “This book can heal you”). Be sure to check with a lawyer in your country if there is any doubt as to your country’s laws.

Use of Mary Baker Eddy’s writings

Please attribute all quotations from Mary Baker Eddy's writings. Please use full sentences or paragraph quotes, or begin or end partial sentences at a colon or semicolon. Do not italicize, bold or highlight portions of quotes to add emphasis. Avoid breaking up and mixing quotes. Present each quote with adequate space to allow it to stand on its own. If space permits, in addition to showing Mrs. Eddy’s name as author, please include a reference to the appropriate book or article. Copyright notices and specific permission are generally required for use of Mrs. Eddy’s letters and for translations of her published writings. For more information and for permission to use such materials, please contact permissions@csps.com.

To provide more information on Mary Baker Eddy, you could link to www.marybakereddylibrary.org/mary-baker-eddy.

Use of images of Mary Baker Eddy

Please contact permissions@csps.com.

Use of images of The Mother Church

Please contact permissions@csps.com.

Use of the Cross and Crown trademark

The Cross and Crown symbol is a registered trademark in the US and other countries. To use the trademark on Reading Room websites, signage, windows or informational brochures, a formal license must be granted. Further information may be found here or by e-mail at trademark@csps.com. Use of the Cross and Crown symbol as a website favicon is not authorized.

The Cross and Crown trademark normally appears on periodicals, books and other products distributed by the CSPS. These publications and products may be displayed in Reading Room websites as described in these Guidelines without the need of obtaining a trademark license.

Use of materials in languages other than English

Please contact opendoors@csps.com for further information.

Linking to TMC/CSPS videos on YouTube

Several departments within The Mother Church maintain dedicated channels on YouTube. Individual videos also have specific URLs which can be linked to independently of the main channel page.