When fifteen hundred to two thousand persons will gather...

Detroit (Mich.) Times

When fifteen hundred to two thousand persons will gather for a prayer-meeting in the middle of the week, in these days when every one is supposed to be "movie mad," it is significant. To one who sat on the side-lines, so to speak, in Arcadia, Wednesday night, during the regular mid-week services of First Church of Christ, Scientist, the spectacle was a revelation. Yet this was merely one of thousands of such gatherings being held in all parts of the country. On this occasion, practically every seat in the great auditorium was filled. Sometimes even standing-room is at a premium. At other times, as many as twenty-five hundred persons have been in attendance. It is merely an evidence of a genuine interest locally in what might appropriately be termed "the gospel of good cheer," for cheerfulness seems to dominate the whole proceedings. A happier lot of people never gathered under one roof than congregates here in Arcadia every Sunday and Wednesday. There are no long faces; every one is smiling.

The Wednesday evening services are not unlike the old-fashioned prayer-meetings of the orthodox church. Beginning promptly at eight o'clock, the first twenty minutes is devoted to the singing of Christian Science hymns and readings from the Bible and the Christian Science text-book. The remainder of the time until nine o'clock, when the congregation goes home, is devoted to the giving of testimonies. Wonderful experiences are related; at least, they seem wonderful to the uninitiated. They vary in detail, but all are of the same general trend. They breathe of security, of confidence, of great comfort, and above all, of good cheer. A young woman told Wednesday night of a husband and wife being brought together through Science at a time when a divorce seemed inevitable. An elderly lady related her experiences in an earthquake in Mexico, and declared that she had known no fear. Many bore witness to the power of Science over disease. Men and women, old and young, joined in this testimony giving. There was no hesitation, no embarrassment, no faltering. Their message is for all, and they give it joyfully, almost exultantly in some instances. To one with a preconceived prejudice against the cult, it would be a convincing demonstration that its followers are at least sincere.

These weekly prayer-meetings are a revelation in another way. As likely as not you will bump into your next-door neighbor, whom you never suspected of being a Scientist. Men prominent in the business and professional life of the community thickly dot the audience, taking an active, earnest part in the work. They will tell you gladly, if you ask, what Christian Science means to them. After the closing hymn, the great audience files out amid a subdued chatter of happy voices as hands are clasped in friendly greetings. The feeling of welcome that marks our entrance is intensified a thousandfold; the sense of strangeness is gone. Yet there is no buttonholing in the interest of the cause. You are not urged to "join." If the subject is discussed, you are the one to bring it up. If you are to embrace Science, you must do so voluntarily, you are told. In that respect it is a good deal like Masonry.

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