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Items of Interest
The dedication of a branch church edifice is an event close to the heart of the church member. For years the practice and rule in the Christian Science church has been that a church edifice shall not be dedicated until it is fully paid for. Mrs. Eddy phrased this rule when she wrote to one of her students, as quoted in the Christian Science Sentinel of October 14, 1905 (p. 104): "If your church is chartered, your church edifice should be dedicated when it is paid for. May heaven's rich blessing crown your faithful labors, and unity and praise dwell within yoru walls and in your hearts."
Naturally, in its procedures looking to dedication a branch church decides its course according to the majority vote of its members; but, after the decision, it is most desirable that all the members turn wholeheartedly to the accomplishment of that most commendable action, the dedication of the church edifice, free of debt, to the service of God. Indeed, democracy in a Christian Science church implies that the minority will conform to the decision made through vote in a business meeting, according to the by-laws.
While Christian Scientists find it right to strive earnestly to accomplish the dedication of their edifices, they also find it helpful to approach the desired attainment in orderly and reasonable, not precipitate, progress. Thus a church edifice should not be dedicated if there are loans, carried in the names of individuals, on its behalf. Of course, an individual, of his own accord and responsibility, may, in some instances, arrange a personal loan, so that he might give more than the condition of his assets at the time warrants. That is his privilege. But unpaid obligations of the church itself, or those arranged by it in its members' names, would, in the light of Mrs. Eddy's words, defer dedication until they were liquidated.
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PETER B. BIGGINS
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