Branch churches and societies

The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts includes branch churches in more than 70 countries the world, as well as smaller organizations called Christian Science Societies. You are always welcome at The Mother Church and at any branch church, society, or informal group of Christian Scientists. You’re also invited to visit Wednesday testimony meetings, local Christian Science Reading Rooms, and other activities in your area such as public lectures on Christian Science. And your children and other young people in your life are welcome to attend Sunday School, which generally meets during regular church services.

You may apply to become a member of both The Mother Church and a local branch church. Members of The Mother Church come from more than 130 countries. Even if you live far away from other Christian Scientists or branch churches, you can still join and be part of our worldwide church family. Membership requirements for branches are unique and do not require membership in The Mother Church. Visit any branch church to find out more.

In Your Area

Church Services

You’re also welcome to attend Sunday church services and Wednesday testimony meetings at any Christian Science branch church or society around the world.

FIND A CHURCH 

Sunday Schools

Children and young people up to the age of 20 are invited to Sunday School at any Christian Science church. It’s an engaging, safe place for kids and teens to explore the Bible and learn more about their relationship to God.

Find a Sunday School

Reading Rooms

Christian Science Reading Rooms are bookstores open to anyone exploring spiritual answers to life’s many questions and challenges.

Find a Reading Room

Lectures

Looking for inspiration, healing, and a better understanding of the teachings of Christian Science? Lectures by practitioners and teachers of Christian Science from around the world share practical ideas and healing solutions.

Find a lecture

Visit The Mother Church

Tour the church, visit the Mary Baker Eddy Library and public Reading Room, attend a Sunday or Wednesday church service, bring your children and teens to the Sunday School, and enjoy the beautiful Christian Science Plaza in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

Visit The Mother Church

Online church services

Learn more about how you can participate in online church services. 

Join an online service

Join The Mother Church

Find out more about Church membership.

Join The Mother Church

Starting an informal Christian Science group

Informal groups are students of Christian Science—and anyone who loves the healing ideas in the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures—who get together to read the Christian Science Bible Lesson or hold informal services. Some groups meet in public places (e.g., a library or community center) to make the message of Christian Science more widely available. This also allows them to advertise their services in local newspapers or on community bulletin boards.

By making spiritual healing the core of their activity, and by using the ideas found in the Bible and Science and Health to meet their individual needs as well as to those of their friends and neighbors, groups often grow to become Christian Science societies or branch churches. Informal groups can’t sponsor lectures, but they can make Science and Health more accessible and available to the world by participating in local events such as book fairs and farmers’ markets.

The Mother Church provides informal groups with books and literature at a discount.

Any informal group that would like a Reading Room account number and/or to be added to the unpublished directory of informal groups can email tmcbranch@csps.com. Branch Activities maintains a database of informal groups around the world and provides contact information to those seeking an informal group in a particular area.

Forming a Christian Science society

To advertise in The Christian Science Journal as a society, members need to meet the following requirements:

  • A solid record of healing in the community,
  • A minimum of eight local, active members to support the activities advertised,
  • Weekly public Sunday church services,
  • Readers (as well as substitutes) who are members of The Mother Church,
  • An attitude of Christian fellowship towards all other Christian Science branches advertising in The Christian Science Journal and The Herald of Christian Science (Church Manual, Article XXIII, Sect. 12).

Societies are also welcome to include in their activities Wednesday testimony meetings, lectures, Sunday School activities, Reading Rooms, etc.

To request an application for advertising in the Journal as a society, email tmcbranch@csps.com.

Becoming a branch Church of Christ, Scientist

The requirements for organizing a branch church are set forth in the Church Manual, Article XXIII, Sections 6 and 7.

In order to begin advertising in The Christian Science Journal, a branch Church, of Christ, Scientist, needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Weekly public Sunday services, as well as Wednesday meetings (Church Manual, Article XIV, Sect. 2, and Article III, Sect. 2),
  • A membership with at least 16 loyal Christian Scientists, of which at least four are members of The Mother Church and one is an active Journal-advertised practitioner (Church Manual, Article XXIII, Sect. 7),
  • Readers and substitute Readers who are members of The Mother Church (Church Manual, Article III, Sect. 6),
  • A Sunday School, a Christian Science Reading Room, and at least one Christian Science lecture per year (Church Manual, Article XX, Article XXI, and XXXII, Sect. 4),
  • An attitude of Christian fellowship towards all other Christian Science branches advertising in The Christian Science Journal and The Herald of Christian Science (Church Manual, Article XXIII, Sect. 12).

To request an application for advertising in the Journal as a branch church, email tmcbranch@csps.com.

You may be asking yourselves how your own branch members can actively participate in this freshly focused attention on the healing mission of Church. If you are, why not . . . 

  • Read this message to branches from the Christian Science Board of Directors and watch the video (below) on the healing mission of church with Robin Hoagland, Director, and Val Unger and Daniel Carr of the Branch Activities and Reading Room department
  • Read the "Ideas for 'Moving Forward Together as a Church of Healers'" (you can also read the message sent to branches on this important topic)
  • Request a meeting at your branch. The meeting will include conversations about the healing mission we hold so dear.

Request a meeting

Let us know if your branch is interested in learning more about having a representative from The Mother Church facilitate a branch church meeting, “Moving Forward Together as a Church of Healers."

Funding Information:

United States

  • Branches will be asked to reimburse the facilitator for all transportation costs, including airfare, taxi, and car rental. The Mother Church will pay for the meals and lodging of the facilitator.
  • Trips to various areas will be combined whenever possible so that branches in that area can share expenses. We’ll work with you to help keep costs down!

Republic of South Africa, Canada, Australia

  • In RSA, Canada, and Australia, funding will funnel through the Trusts located in these countries. Branches will pay a percentage of the costs as established by the Trust in each country. We will be in touch to explain how that will work.

Email tmcbranch@csps.com to get more information.

Video about the healing mission of Church

The healing mission of Church

Play video by clicking on the arrow in the video box
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[Audio only (17 MB)] [Video low (98 MB)] [Video high (662 MB)]

This a video of a conversation Robin Hoagland, from the Christian Science Board of Directors, had with Valerie Unger and Daniel Carr, of the Branch & Reading Room Activities Department. Robin asked them a few questions about their work and about branches of The Mother Church. 

Their discussion grew out of the theme of Annual Meeting 2014, “A spiritual foundation of Christ-healing” from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. This theme is one that the Board of Directors has been thinking about throughout all the activities of The Mother Church. In this video Robin meets with Valerie Unger and Daniel Carr who respond to questions and needs in the field relating to the activities of branch churches and societies.

You are also invited to read this message from the Christian Science Board of Directors on the healing mission of Church.

The video is also available in the following languages

The Church Manual provides that “two small churches” may “consolidate under one church government” (Church Manual, Article XXIII, Sect. 6).

This process generally involves majority votes of both memberships and negotiations—often through meetings of the two church boards—to discuss and consider options resulting in resolutions that are then brought to the respective memberships.

A consolidation usually involves the following:

  • Two religious non-profit organizations cease to exist and a new one comes into being.
  • Assets from each church become the assets of the new entity.
  • The members of each body automatically become the members of the new church.
  • Sometimes both Boards operate together until the united membership holds new elections.
  • By-laws are written and voted upon and members decide upon the name of the new church.
  • The name of the new church can be the same as one of the churches consolidating, or a new name may be chosen by the members that reflects the identity and location of the community to be served.

State laws sometimes require the dissolution of any existing religious corporate charters of the former churches and the obtaining of a new one for the new church. It is wise to work with a lawyer to assist with the details of this process, since dissolution/merger laws vary from state to state.

When consolidating, it is necessary for each branch to fill out an application form for their new Journal advertisement. To get applications, please email tmcbranch@csps.com.

The Mother Church sent the following documents to branches in March 2007. Several were updated in March 2009, as noted. Click the links below to download them as PDFs.

These documents may require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing. Download the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Cover Letter from the Clerk
Download (PDF file; 37.3 kB)
Guidelines of obligations 2011
Download (PDF file; 140 kB)
Notice to Readers 2011
Download (PDF file; 138.3 kB)
Self-employment exemption 2011
Download (PDF file; 135.5 kB)
Newly elected Readers Letter (Sept. 13, 1955)
Download (PDF file; 504.5 kB)
IRS Form 4361
Download (PDF file; 96.1 kB)
Charitable contributions
Download (PDF file; 158.6 kB)

Tax determination letters from the US Treasury Department (IRS)

The documents below may be useful in proving the tax-exempt status of your church or society in situations such as proving tax deductibility of charitable contributions to your church, and obtaining branch church exemption from sales tax in your state, where such exemption is available.

Providing copies of these three letters (plus a photocopy of the page in The Christian Science Journal where your branch is advertised) to persons requiring proof of your tax-exempt status will satisfy inquiries in almost all cases.

You should print out and keep these letters in your permanent records.

Letter establishing the tax-exempt status of The Mother Church (May 25, 1936)
Download (PDF file; 32 kB)
Letter establishing the tax-exempt status of all branch churches and societies (June 3, 1941)
Download (PDF file; 82.8 kB)
Letter reconfirming the tax exempt status of The Mother Church (May 16, 1994)
Download (PDF file; 17.4 kB)

Questions? Please contact:

Office of the General Counsel 
617-450-3605 
legalinfo@csps.com 

Reading aloud workshops offer ideas especially helpful for Readers in churches. Topics include metaphysical approaches to reading, as well as the fundamentals of emphasis, phrasing, and more.

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