[From the Aldershot (England) News.]

A chance reference in the columns of the Alderhot News a few weeks ago, was my first intimation that the Christian Science movement had any active followers in Aldershot. Learning that services were held on Sundays in the Masonic Hall, I decided to ascertian how and by whom this new cult, which is gradually gaining ground in England, was being promulgated. The result was something of a surprise. I arrived some time before the service began, and was courteously invited to take a place in the large room set apart for the service. A portion of it was curtained off, and in the ante-room so formed, large cards were displayed requesting silence. Rows of chairs, on which were placed the special hymn-books used, faced a large reading-desk. This was beautifully decorated with boughs of autumn-tinted leaves and berries and gorgeous sunflowers, and elsewhere graceful sprays of foliage and trails of creepers were arranged with much artistic skill, giving an aspect of brightness and beauty to the sunlit room, with its rich crimson walls. For some considerable time there was absolute stillness, although several persons were in the room. They remained seated, as though in quiet meditation. It was interesting, meanwhile, to note what manner of men and women they were. The men were mostly officers, the women either wives of officers or belonging to the same class. They were well-dressed people, with nothing about them that distinguished them from ordinary church-goers, except, perhaps, an air of serenity and detachment that, with the harmonious surroundings, contributed to the atmosphere of peace and pleasantness that pervaded the place. Presently some children, who had been at the Sunday School class, which preceded the service, came in, and with other people took their places

Mrs. Carter, the wife of Major Carter, Professor at the School of Instruction, Army Service Corps, took her place, as Reader, at one end of the reading-desk, and one of the officers present stood near, on the platform, to take part also in the service. They read alternately portions of Scripture, Mrs. Carter beginning. She read from Genesis in a clear and melodious voice, giving to the wondrous story told there of the creation much interest and beauty by her effective reading. Chapters from Corinthians and other books of the Bible, with excerpts from the writings of Mrs. Eddy, the Founder of the Christian Science movement, followed. At times, when the importance of truth and kindliness were laid stress on, one almost imagined that they were the words of Ruskin, and that it was his teaching that was being expounded, but then came a call to the deeper imagination, Soul, Spirit, or whatever it may be, that, it is claimed, can dominate and make seem as of no account the consciousness of all human pain, sorrow, and suffering. There was no sermon, the written word from the sources mentioned alone being used. Hymns were sung, these being of a special nature, all breathing the spirit of divine Love and the potency of prayer to cure all ills. As the sunshine played on the scene, burnishing the delicate leaves arranged on the reading-desk and mantelpieces to a coppery crimson, and making the berries glow like rubies, one realized the bounteousness of the gifts of the good giver, who made every herb of the herb of the field for the use and delight of man; and as the faces of the stalwart men and the gracious women were irradiated, one wondered if, perchance, they held the secret of the supreme gift, the power of healing human suffering and woe. In an hour or less the service had ended, and the little band of believers left the room. In the hall there was an interchange of friendly chat, literature was selected from the library, and the gathering dispersed. For about ten months these services have been going on quietly, but not secretly, and few outside those who actually profess Christian Science know of them. The followers in Aldershot and Farnborough are at present almost confined to a few officers and their friends. The chief work is that of healing, and of this they say, "That you do not need to take medicine in order to be healed; that there is a better way to heal one than by giving him medicine." They realize that the true way of healing the sick is the mental process. They are trying to prove to the invalid that this is the better way. Just so soon as he comes to see and depend on this method rather than on medicine, just so soon as he sees that it is something valuable, he will find that it is a better way; he will find that he is not only being healed, but he stays well longer—he does not get sick so often; he gets rid of sickness sooner when he is sick, and so on. "We are not here to quarrel with medicine," they say, "and especially with people who do not understand these things. People are all depending too much on medicine—a thing which most of them know so little about."

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February 2, 1907

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