Orderly Methods Needed

ONE of the duties imposed upon The Christian Science Publishing Society is that of passing upon the eligibility of the churches and societies which seek to have their services announced in the official organ of the denomination and thus become identified as component parts of The Church of Christ, Scientist. The individuals who have this duty to perform have frequently found themselves seriously hampered in their work by reason of the loose methods and lack of proper organization which prevail in some of the smaller churches and societies. Some of these small congregations are practically unorganized, others have very crude and imperfect forms of organization, and frequently the task of deciding upon the legitimacy of their claims to official recognition is quite difficult. In some places a person simply "takes charge;" there is no election of Readers, no provision for admitting eligible persons to membership, no list of members, and no definite arrangements regarding finances, all of which omissions and irregularities usually contribute to a state of discontent that is harmful to our Cause, that stunts its legitimate growth.

We believe that every little band of workers who come together and hold services, hopes that it may prove to be the nucleus of a large and flourishing church, and in the majority of cases this hope is eventually realized. It is, therefore, the part of wisdom to lay a foundation which will support a progressive and growing organization. This does not mean, "when two or three are gathered together in His name," that they should form an organization upon lines suitable to the needs of a church with several hundred members; but whatever the form of the organization, it should be definite, and with such rules as will lend to the orderly transaction of business, permit of the growth of the society, and safeguard the rights of the individual members. If each step be taken rightly at first, much friction and misunderstanding will be prevented. In many places where confusion prevails it is simply because of a lack of knowledge.

Briefly stated, the essentials are: 1. A society which is not in conflict with the State law governing the formation and conduct of religious societies. 2. A set of rules or by-laws which conforms to the requirements of the State law and which provides for the election of additional members, the dismissal of members, the election of Readers and such other officers as are necessary, also for the holding of regular and special meetings. The fewer and simpler these rules are the better it will be for the society, but this should not be understood to mean that anything indefinite or inadequate is advocated. As the society grows in membership and importance other rules may be added, but they should be only such as the growth of the organization calls for, and their object should be to simplify the administration of the affairs of the society rather than to establish an intricate and cumbersome code of procedure. 3. A complete and accurate roll of membership; a legible and correct record of the proceedings of the society at its business meetings, and a strict compliance with the rules or by-laws, especially those relating to the election of officers. We know, of course, that rules and by-laws do not of themselves make a Church of Christ, Scientist, but if they are definite and adequate, and are lived up to in both spirit and letter, they will certainly tend toward the promotion of harmony and thus add to the effectiveness and prosperity of the church as well as to the peace and happiness of the individual members.

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"Treasure in the heavens."
August 5, 1905

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