How do I start a CSO?

Let the CSO Support Team know if you would like to start or are starting a CSO; we can help you think through the process and connect you with others.

What is a CSO?

Christian Science Organizations (CSO) are found at universities all over the world. Mary Baker Eddy’s provision for CSOs is on page 73 of the Manual of The Mother Church:

“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.”

What are CSOs today? And why would you want to start or join one? Check out our videos to hear other students answer this question, and then keep exploring more on these pages!

To start a CSO and be listed in The Christian Science Journal Directory or The Herald of Christian Science Directory, just meet the two requirements Mrs. Eddy wrote for CSOs in the Manual:

  • Have at least one member who is a student or faculty member and a Mother Church member

  • Operate under the rules of the university or college

If you do not yet meet the requirements above, it might be possible to list your group as a Forming CSO on Reach out to us at; we’d love to hear what you’re up to!

Working with your school’s requirements

Some schools require that you register as a recognized student organization in order to hold events and lectures, and participate in student fairs. Check with your campus Chaplain or Student Activities office to find out their requirements for official recognition. There may be exceptions to the written requirements. It can be worth clarifying that you are not looking for funding. Some schools require:

  • Officers — President, Vice President, Treasurer, etc.

  • 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.

  • Bylaws — View a sample CSO constitution.

  • Minimum number of members — If you are looking for other Christian Scientists at your school, try reaching out to local branch churches and the CSO Support Team at The Mother Church. Even with a small number of members, you can still make a big impact!

If this seems a little daunting, know that we are here to help at