A gift for my community
Originally appeared online in the teen series My Church - December 20, 2022
I’m a Christian Scientist, but there aren’t many branch Churches of Christ, Scientist, near where my family lives. So when I was thinking about a service project to help my community, the mobile Reading Room that my dad built came to mind.
A Christian Science Reading Room is a place open to the public that contains literature to help people learn more about or study Christian Science. I thought it would be wonderful to provide my community members access to the Bible, to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and to other resources that are available through the church’s publishing arm. These books and magazines have helped me in so many ways that I wanted everyone to be able to benefit from them and be healed by the ideas they contain, the way I have. Various churches in the area donated Christian Science literature, Bibles, and other resources for us to give away; we agreed not to sell anything.
My dad and brother felt the same way I did about bringing Christian Science to our neighbors, so they offered to go with me. We’ve found it helpful to pray before everything we do, so praying before we took the Reading Room out felt natural. I liked the idea that we were “the light of the world” as Jesus said (Matthew 5:14) and that we were being led by God.
I thought it would be wonderful to provide my community members access to the Bible and to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
The first place we decided to take the Reading Room was an outdoor space called the National Mall, which is in Washington, DC, near the White House. We spent almost five hours there, and a lot of people walked by every hour. A mother and daughter from England stopped and said that the Christian Science church in their community had closed, and they didn’t have access to a Reading Room, so they were glad to find us. Another person was grateful to see the Reading Room and to find out what resources were available.
On another day, when we took the Reading Room to West Virginia, we talked with a woman who asked us to pray with her for inspiration and guidance, as she was close to losing her home. In addition to praying with her, my dad found helpful and relatable articles from the Christian Science periodicals, which he gave to her to read. I handed out literature to other passersby and got to explain what Christian Science is, because some people who stopped to talk hadn’t heard of it before. I liked to share the ideas that God is Love and that there are laws of God that govern us—and that since He is Love, all those spiritual laws, like health, safety, and harmony, are based in Love.
We went out many more times to a variety of local places. It wasn’t always easy to find a place to park, but my dad helped us understand that Love would provide whatever we needed. We found a place every time, even in some hard-to-park areas, and always ended up having great conversations with whomever we met, because Love was guiding everything that we were doing.
I was surprised by how positively the community responded to us. Even if they didn’t stop, people would honk their horns and give us a thumbs-up to let us know they were happy we were there.
From this experience I learned that I don’t need to be afraid to share Christian Science. I’m normally a quiet person, so sitting in a mobile Christian Science Reading Room with hundreds of people walking by seemed scary, and I was worried that my answers wouldn’t be good enough for those I talked to. But I found that when I let God lead the way in conversation, it wasn’t hard. Even if I was nervous about my response, I could always see that the ideas were helping people and that God was speaking to them, just like He was speaking to me.
This experience has helped me feel more confident about explaining Christian Science and praying for the world. I love Christian Science and have benefited from it so much that I was really grateful to be able to share the gift of Christian Science with my community.