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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SENTINEL

1898—A Hundred Years of Watching and Holding Guard—1998

From the October 20, 1997 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Do you have any old photo albums? It's fun to revisit the people and events of years ago. We've been looking at a photo album of sorts lately, one documenting the evolution of this weekly magazine.

There are things about the Sentinel that have changed dramatically year to year, decade to decade. Relevance is vital for a magazine that helps people watch and pray about news and trends. No wonder the Sentinel's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, required "that these periodicals are ably edited and kept abreast of the times" (Manual of The Mother Church, Art. VIII, Sect. 14). There are other elements that haven't changed. On September 1, 1898, the world saw the first issue of this magazine, named by Mary Baker Eddy The Christian Science Weekly. Soon after, she renamed it the Christian Science Sentinel.

Two things that haven't changed during the past one hundred years—and it is well that they shouldn't—are the Sentinel's mission and motto. You'll notice how closely related they are to each other. The motto that Mrs. Eddy provided for the Sentinel is Jesus' admonition "What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (Mark 13:37). And when Mrs. Eddy wrote of the missions for each of the publications she founded, she said of the Sentinel that it was "to hold guard over Truth, Life, and Love" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353).

The purpose of the Christian Science Sentinel is to help readers watch emerging trends and events; it brings a spiritual perspective that promotes effective prayer and healing. This purpose is the Sentinel's foundation and is permanent.

As you can see from the early cover sample, the design and layout have certainly evolved as the decades have passed and the age progressed. At its inception, Mary Baker Eddy desired that the look of the Sentinel be in line with other weekly magazines of the day. Neo-Romanism had become a factor in magazine and book design, and we see its influence in the Sentinel's first covers.

Much of the world was experiencing a great spiritual awakening at the end of nineteenth century. The Christian Science Sentinel had a distinct mission, a distinct message, and therefore had a distinct, yet relevant, visual appearance.

In further installments of "The Christian Science Sentinel—A Hundred Years of Watching and Holding Guard" we'll highlight a few examples of how the magazine has evolved over the decades to meet the changing needs of society. The look and feel of the Sentinel have always been progressing—always in line with the permanence of its motto and mission.

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