Church Officers

Church By-Laws

25Church Officers
Names, Election, and Duties

Article I Section 1    Names.  SECTION 1. The Church officers shall consist of the Pastor Emeritus, a Board of Directors, a President, a Clerk, a Treasurer, and two Readers.

Article I Section 2    President.  SECT. 2. The President shall be elected, subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus, by the Board of Directors1 on Monday preceding the annual meeting of the Church. The President shall hold office for one year, and the same person is eligible for election but once in three years.

Article I Section 3    Clerk and Treasurer.  SECT. 3. The term of office for the Clerk and the Treasurer of this 26Church (also for the editors and the manager of The Christian Science Publishing Society, and the manager of the general Committee on Publication in Boston) is one year each, dating from the time of election to office. Incumbents who have served one year or more, may be reelected, or new officers elected, at the annual meeting held for this purpose, by a unanimous vote of the Christian Science Board of Directors and the consent of the Pastor Emeritus given in her own handwriting.

Article I Section 4    Readers.  SECT. 4. Every third year Readers shall be elected in The Mother Church by the Board of Directors, which shall inform the Pastor Emeritus of the names of its candidates before they are elected; and if she objects, said candidates shall not be chosen. The Directors shall fix the salaries of the Readers.

Article I Section 5    Directors.  SECT. 5. The Christian Science Board of Directors shall consist of five members. They shall fill a vacancy occurring on that Board after the candidate is approved by the Pastor Emeritus. A majority vote or the request of Mrs. Eddy shall dismiss a member. Members shall neither report the discussions of this Board, nor those with Mrs. Eddy.

27Article I Section 6    Church Business.  SECT. 6. The business of The Mother Church shall be transacted by its Christian Science Board of Directors. The manager of the general Committee on Publication in the United States shall order no special action to be taken by said Committee that is not named in the Manual of this Church without consulting with the full Board of Directors of The Mother Church and receiving the written consent of said Board.

Article I Section 7    Publishing Buildings.  SECT. 7. It shall be the duty of the Christian Science Board of Directors to provide a suitable building for the publication of The Christian Science Journal, Christian Science Sentinel, Der Herold der Christian Science, and all other Christian Science literature published by The Christian Science Publishing Society. It shall also be the duty of the Christian Science Board of Directors to provide suitable rooms, conveniently and pleasantly located in the same building, for the publication and sale of the books of which Mary Baker Eddy is, or may be, the author, and of other literature connected therewith.

Article I Section 8    Trusteeships and Syndicates.  SECT. 8. Boards of Trustees and Syndicates may be 28formed by The Mother Church, subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus.

Article I Section 9    Duties of Church Officers.  SECT. 9. Law constitutes government, and disobedience to the laws of The Mother Church must ultimate in annulling its Tenets and By-Laws. Without a proper system of government and form of action, nations, individuals, and religion are unprotected; hence the necessity of this By-Law and the warning of Holy Writ: “That servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”

    It is the duty of the Christian Science Board of Directors to watch and make sure that the officers of this Church perform the functions of their several offices promptly and well. If an officer fails to fulfil all the obligations of his office, the Board of Directors shall immediately call a meeting and notify this officer either to resign his place or to perform his office faithfully; then failing to do either, said officer shall be dismissed from this Church, and his dismissal shall be written on the Church records.

    It is the duty of any member of this Church, and especially of one who has been or who is 29the First Reader of a church, to inform the Board of Directors of the failure of the Committee on Publication or of any other officer in this Church to perform his official duties. A Director shall not make known the name of the complainant.

    If the Christian Science Board of Directors fails to fulfil the requirements of this By-Law, and a member of this Church or the Pastor Emeritus shall complain thereof to the Clerk and the complaint be found valid, the Directors shall resign their office or perform their functions faithfully. Failing to do thus, the Pastor Emeritus shall appoint five suitable members of this Church to fill the vacancy. The salary of the members of the Board of Directors shall be at present two thousand five hundred dollars each annually.

Readers of The Mother Church

Article II Section 1    Election.  SECTION 1. The Readers for The Mother Church shall be a man and a woman, one to read the BIBLE, and one to read SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES.

30Article II Section 2    Eligibility.  SECT. 2. The Directors shall select intelligible Readers who are exemplary Christians and good English scholars. They must be members of The Mother Church.

Article II Section 3    Removal.  SECT. 3. If a Reader in The Mother Church be found at any time inadequate or unworthy, he or she shall be removed from office by a majority vote of the Board of Directors and the consent of the Pastor Emeritus, and the vacancy supplied.

Article II Section 4    First Reader’s Residence.  SECT. 4. Unless Mrs. Eddy requests otherwise, the First Reader of The Mother Church shall occupy, during his term of Readership, the house of the Pastor Emeritus, No. 385 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. The Board of Directors shall pay from the Church funds the taxes and rent on this property; the Board shall attend to the insurance before it expires, suitably furnish the house, and keep the property in good repair, so long as Mrs. Eddy does not occupy the house herself and the occupants are satisfactory to her.

Duties of Readers of The Mother Church and of Its Branch Churches

Article III Section 1    Moral Obligations.  SECTION 1. The Readers of The Mother Church and of all its branch churches must devote a suitable portion of their time to preparation for the reading of the Sunday lesson, — a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends. They must keep themselves unspotted from the world, — uncontaminated with evil, — that the mental atmosphere they exhale shall promote health and holiness, even that spiritual animus so universally needed.

Article III Section 2    First Readers’ Duties.  SECT. 2. It shall be the duty of the First Readers to conduct the principal part of the Sunday services, and the Wednesday evening meetings.

Article III Section 3    Suitable Selections.  SECT. 3. The First Readers shall read, as a part of the Wednesday evening services, selections from the SCRIPTURES, and from SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES.

32Article III Section 4    Order of Reading.  SECT. 4. The First Readers in the Christian Science churches shall read the correlative texts in SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES; and the Second Readers shall read the BIBLE texts. The readings from the SCRIPTURES shall precede the readings from SCIENCE AND HEALTH.The Readers shall not read from copies or manuscripts, but from the books.

Article III Section 5    Naming Book and Author.  SECT. 5. The Readers of SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES, before commencing to read from this book, shall distinctly announce the full title of the book and give the author’s name. Such announcement shall be made but once during the lesson.

Article III Section 6    Readers in Branch Churches.  SECT. 6. These Readers shall be members of The Mother Church. They shall read understandingly and be well educated. They shall make no remarks explanatory of the LESSON-SERMON at any time, but they shall read all notices and remarks that may be printed in the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE QUARTERLY. This By-Law applies to Readers in all the branch churches.

Article III Section 7    Enforcement of By-Laws.  SECT. 7. It shall 33be the duty of every member of The Mother Church, who is a First Reader in a Church of Christ, Scientist, to enforce the discipline and By-Laws of the church in which he is Reader.

Article III Section 8    A Reader not a Leader.  SECT. 8. The Church Reader shall not be a Leader, but he shall maintain the Tenets, Rules, and discipline of the Church. A Reader shall not be a President of a church.

     Click here to return to text.1See under “Deed of Trust” for incorporation of the “Christian Science Board of Directors.”