Branch churches and societies

Church Activities Department

The Church Activities Department at The Mother Church is a resource for your branch church or society. Recently, Branch Church Activities, Reading Room Activities, and TMC Youth joined forces to create this integrated department. It is designed as a full spectrum of support for church and all of its activities—from services and testimony meetings to Sunday Schools and Reading Rooms,—and it reflects the unity of the whole church membership in carrying out these activities together.

We also support Christian Science Organizations on university and college campuses, organize youth-focused events called Summits, and manage a summer internship program in Boston for college students.

Feel free to call (617-450-3468) or email us (tmcbranch@csps.com) any time with your questions.

Reading Room

In this area, you'll find tools and resources to help you advance the healing mission of your branch church and Reading Room.

Reading Room Resource Center

Sunday School

Are you a Sunday School student, teacher, superintendent or parent? Check out these resources to support a richer Sunday School experience.

Sunday School Resource Center

Prison and institutional work

Christian Science branch churches around the world support prison and institutional work through volunteer chaplain programs.

Institutional Committee Resource Center

Church of Healers

This interactive discussion provides the members of a branch ways to explore how they can move forward together with a focus on their collective healing ministry. Some of the topics that we dive into are: What is your mission? How can you take the next steps forward in your mission? What would impede your branch’s healing ministry and how can you handle those impositions?

Why Church

This workshop is designed specifically for youth. It provides the opportunity for young people to explore more what Christian Science means to them, the role of church in supporting them, and being part of a global movement of healers. We also discuss how church and all of its activities can be a more effective and relevant to the whole community. It’s an opportunity to see why a healing church needs young people as well as what that can look like in their experience.

We recommend offering this is in conjunction with the “Engaging Youth in Church” workshop.

Engaging Youth in Church

The Engaging Youth in Church workshop focuses on three main areas: strengthening Sunday School, bridging the gap between Sunday School and church, and encouraging active participation in church. It is designed for the entire church community. We love having people of all ages attend!

Reading aloud workshops for Readers

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.

Access audio for Reader workshops

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.

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 following documents replace the tax guidelines sent to branches in 2007 and partly updated online in 2009. Click the links below to download them as PDF’s.

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

Notice to all Branch Churches & Societies in the US 2017
Download (PDF file; 45.6 kB)
Tax guidelines 2017
Download (PDF file; 60.1 kB)
Information for Readers 2017
Download (PDF file; 25.4 kB)
Charitable contributions 2017
Download (PDF file; 116.4 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 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.

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 confirming the tax exempt status of The Mother Church (May 16, 1994)
Download (PDF file; 17.4 kB)
Letter reconfirming the Tax Exempt Status of The Mother Church (Feb. 3, 2016)
Download (PDF file; 51.6 kB)


Letter from the Social Security Administration

A letter to The Mother Church from the Social Security Administration describes the tax status of Readers (see INFORMATION FOR READERS).

Letter from the Social Security Administration (Sept. 13, 1955)
Download (PDF file; 508.2 kB)

Questions?

Please contact:
Office of the General Counsel 
617-450-3323 or 1-800-288-7155 ext. 3323
legalinfo@csps.com


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Host a Christian Science lecture

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