CSO FAQ

CSO stands for Christian Science Organization, and they can be found on college campuses all over the world. Mary Baker Eddy’s provision for CSOs can be found on page 73 of the Manual:

“Privilege of Members. Sect.8. Members in good standing with The Mother Church, who are members of the faculty, instructors, or students in any university or college, can form and conduct a Christian Science organization at such university or college, provided its rules so permit. Also members in good standing with The Mother Church, who are graduates of said university or college, may become members of the organization by application to, and by the unanimous vote of, the active members present, if the rules of the university or college so permit. When called for, a member of the Board of Lectureship may lecture for said university or college organization.”

Each CSO is a unique and independent entity, but they all unite under a common purpose: sharing Christian Science with their campuses. This could be through a lecture, participation in interfaith panels, tables in student centers, or other creative ideas.

A former CSO member offers this perspective:

“For one thing, Christian Science is all about thinking! A student organization centered on, focused on, and motivated about meeting, sharing ideas, reaching new people and thinking is one mighty powerful thing. College is a chance for a bunch of 20-year-olds to be curious, to ask questions, to hear each other’s answers and study. Whether it’s biology, Latin American literature or differential equations, college is about the study of our world; an active CSO is an alive bunch of people interested in studying what governs this world. Truth! Life! Love! Learning and learning and learning!” (Julie Furbush, Tufts University CSO Alumni, USA)

Read what others have to say about their CSO! Or, check out the CSO Resource Guide

In her book, No and Yes, on page 11, Mary Baker Eddy, says: “If the Bible and Science and Health had the place in schools of learning that physiology occupies, they would revolutionize and reform the world, through the power of Christ. It is true that it requires more study to understand and demonstrate what these works teach, than to learn theology, physiology, or physics; because they teach divine Science, with fixed Principle, given rule, and unmistakable proof.”

  1. Meet the two requirements Mrs. Eddy wrote for CSOs in the Manual:
    1. formed by a student or faculty member who is a Mother Church member.
    2. officially recognized by the university or college – this is dependent on the requirements of the college or university.
  2. Check with your campus Chaplain or Student Activities office to find out their requirements for official recognition. Most campuses require:
    1. Officers — President, Vice President, Treasurer, etc.
    2. Faculty/Staff Advisor — If you don’t know a Christian Scientist, try other professors! CSOs have often found support in the religion and philosophy departments.
    3. Constitution — View a sample CSO constitution.
    4. Minimum number of members — There isn’t one! There are plenty of active 1-person CSOs blessing their campuses. Reach out to the local churches and the TMC Youth support team, we might know folks on your campus!
  3. Let TMC Youth know you are starting a CSO and we can help you through the process CSOsupport@csps.com.

Formal recognition requirements:

  • at least one student who wants to share Christian Science with their campus and is a member of the Mother Church
  • regular activities hosted (lectures, meetings, interfaith panels etc.)
  • official university recognition

Informal recognition requirements (Forming):

  • at least one student who wants to share Christian Science with their campus and is a member of the Mother Church
  • regular activities hosted (lectures, meetings, interfaith panels etc.)
  • working towards university recognition

Even forming CSOs will be listed on time4thinkers.com to help students find them, but only those with university recognition will be listed in the Journal and Herald as official CSOs.

  • Host lectures
  • Participate in interfaith panels
  • Table in student center
  • Anything that shares Christian Science with the campus, feel free to get creative!

For more ideas, check out the Resource Guide

 

All CSOs should seek out formal recognition by their university. The requirement for university recognition comes from the Manual (see above). Established CSOs are those which have attained university recognition, and these are listed in the Journal and Herald. To seek resources from your university to support your activities (including financial and logistical support), you will need to be recognized. This can take time so, in the meanwhile, if a CSO is organizing activities but has yet to gain formal recognition, they will be listed on our site as “forming” so students are able to connect and to support the good that’s going on!

You can do a lot! Some of the most active CSOs are made up of only one person. Remember:

  • You are never alone. You are one with God. That’s huge! God is leading you and is always with you. Seriously, trust this. Be confident that the Christ is already paving the way for what you will be doing.
  • Your CSO work is motivated by love and a desire to share something that has helped you in your own life. Everyone shares a desire to feel happy, fulfilled, and satisfied. CSOs can unify and be a healing presence, built on the basis that we are united as children of God. You do not need to feel like you have to convince anyone of anything. The Christ is speaking to each one of us. Everyone is capable of knowing God, and that is awesome.
  • Check out what this ONE person CSO did!
  • Find some Christian Scientists on your campus. Contact nearby branch churches, local reading rooms, and TMC Youth (CSOsupport@csps.com)
  • Enable others to find you easily. Reach out to the campus through Facebook or set up a table in a busy spot to share inspirational ideas related to issues on campus.
  • Get the word out. Put flyers up about the CSO, meet in public spaces, connect with other like-minded groups on campus and attend their meetings - you might even get the opportunity to co-sponsor an event for the campus!
  • Stick with it.  A CSO is doing a lot of good for the campus by providing students with an environment where they feel loved and supported.This is a worthy mission to rally around!

TMC Youth supports all CSOs, both forming and established.

  • CSO Resource Guide
  • Listing on the Christian Science on Campus directory
  • Logistical support when planning activities.
  • Financial assistance for lectures and activities on campus. Please request a financial assistance form if interested.
  • Marketing on our website as well as our CSO Facebook page, Christian Science on campus.

Feel free to contact the CSO Support team at CSOsupport@csps.com or 800-288-7090 X 3700. You can also contact one of the TMC Youth Regional Representatives.

Yes, we will take CSOs out of the Journal/Herald if:

  • There are no longer Christian Science students attending the University
  • There has been no activity for longer than a year
  • The contact person for the CSO is unresponsive for over three months