First Church of Christ, Scientist Centennial

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First Church of Christ, Scientist Centennial


Tallahassee Democrat article on the Tallahassee Christian Science Church celebrating its centennial.


Kant-Rauch, Sharon


Scan of article courtesy of Tallahassee First Church of Christ, Scientist


Tallahassee Democrat


18 Oct 2008


Tallahassee First Church of Christ, Scientist




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First Church of Christ, Scientist: ‘where people have been healed for 100 years’
Learn more at today’s open house
By Sharon Kant-Rauch
Perhaps you’ve heard the term Christian Science, walked by the First Church of Chris t, Scientist downtown or glanced in a Christian Science Reading Room.
But do you know what it’s all about?
If not, today you’ll have a chance to find out as the church hosts an open house, a speaker and an organ concert as part of its 100-year anniversary.
“Letting people know that there exists a church in Tallahassee where people have been healed for 100 years, that’s our main objective,” said Vicki Sheffield, a Christian Science practitioner.
Since Mary Baker Eddy founded the denomination in 1879, healing — including physical and emotional — has been the focus of the church. Eddy believed that man is spiritual.
Since our spiritual nature reflects the perfectness of God, if we are aligned with that perfectness, we can be…
Being healed from grief is what first brought Sheffield to the church. She was attending Florida State University in the 1960s when her father was murdered in South Florida. Shaken and depressed, she wandered from church to church, trying to find relief from her suffering.
One day a woman offered her a ride home * • from band practice. She was a Christian Scientist, and she gave Sheffield a copy of.Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures.” From the first words, “To those leaning on the sustaining hooked.
“light flooded my consciousness ” she said. “It was just what I needed.”
.Sheffield later became a Christian Science practitioner — someone who has gone through a two- week training, performed three healings (verified by the patient) and agrees to work full time as a practitioner.
Judy Clark, a member of the church for 30 years, said her first healing helped her stop smoking. At the time, she was 21” years old and smoking up to two packs a day. She had tried to quit before, but had been unsuccessful. She decided to give Christian Science a try.
A Christian Science practitioner came over to her house and talked with her. Clark can’t remember the details of what they discussed that day, but she remembers his advice: Say the Lord’s Prayer, not by rote, but with real intention.
Clark said the prayer driving to work, on a break, any chance she had. By the end of the week, when she was cleaning house and found a pack a cigarettes, she realized she hadn’t smoked in a week. Quitting had been effortless.
“That gave me encouragement,” Clark said. “This really works. I can do this.”*
Today Clark doesn’t get routine physical exams or tests unless required by insurance. She said she used Christian Science for the occasional illnesses of her three children.
“I could count on one hand anything that was really serious,” she said. Things were handled quickly.”
Pat Pieratte, who has been a Christian Scientist all her life, said when she gets sick or has an accident such as burning herself on the stove, she begins declaring that she is a creation 6f God, and that as God’s creation she is spiritual, not material. She reflects on a quality of God such as spirit, soul, life, truth or love that best fits her situation. She said a healing occurs right then or in a few days. She recently had a crown put on her tooth without the use of novocaine.
The wonderful thing about Christian Science is that when you get healed it’s not only a physical thing, you advance spiritually,” she said. “If you go to a doctor, only your body may get healed”
(Harold Koenig, codirector of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University, wrote in an e-mail that he wasn’t aware of any “scientific study or objective documentation of Christian Science healings.”)
As a result of Christian Scientists’ reliance on payer, many people assume Christian Scientists are not allowed to go to doctors. Not true, Sheffield said. Church members are free to go to a doctor anytime without risk of condemnation or expulsion. It’s an individual decision. Clark, for instance, complied with the vaccinations and physical exams the law required for her children to attend school.
The public also often confuses Christian Science with Scientology. The First Church of Christ, Scientist is a Christian church that uses the Bible and Eddy’s writings as its foundational literature.
Scientology was founded in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard. It incorporates ideas from many religions and postulates that humans are immortal, that their experiences extend beyond a single lifetime, and that their capabilities are unlimited, according to Scientology’s official Web site. One of Scientology’s most famous followers is actor Tom Cruise.
A similarity between the two religions is that they offer spiritual solutions to physical problems.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist doesn’t have a creed, a doctrine or a clergy. To be a church, as opposed to a society, one of tiie members must be a practitioner.
Two other positions at the church include the First and Second Readers, who speak at Sunday services. The sermon consists of one Reader reading from the Bible, and the Second Reader reading from Eddy’s writings.
On Wednesday night, there’s another reading, and a chance for people to give testimonies about their healings, which deal with problems in any area of life — physical, emotional or financial. It’s often a time when members pray for healing the sins of the larger society.
Six days a week the Christian Science reading room, which recently moved from the North- wood Mall to a small building next to the church on Adams Street, is open to the public. The room contains the writings of Eddy that date back to the 1800s and church periodicals and newspapers up to the present.
Sheffield said overall the services, and the healings, are really very simple.
“God is right there, talking to us,” she said. “He is trying to make us aware that he is here.”

■ What: First Church of Christ, Scientist centennial celebration and open house.
■ When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
■ Where: 122 N. Adams St.
■ 1 p.m. Organ recital by church organist James Amene, a graduate of FSU’s College of Music.
■ 2 p.m. Speaker Betty J. O’Neal from Lynn, Mass., will give a lecture titled “Perplexed? Learn how Christian Science heals.”
■ The Reading Room will be open during the entire open house.

Christian Science began with 19th-century woman
By Sharon Kant-Rauch
Mary Baker Eddy, bom in 1821, was a sickly child and as an adult suffered from illnesses that caused her to spend weeks in bed.
After her first husband died in 1844, she was sick so often that her only child had to be raised * by family members and neighbors.
In 1866, she fell on the ice in Lynn, Mass., causing injuries so severe she thought she was going to die. One night, she reached for the Bible and began reading about the healings of Jesus. She was healed and got out of bed.
She spent the next three years studying the Bible and coming up with what she called Christian Science — a set of principles she believed explained the laws of God and creation. When applied, she believed they could bring about healings of all kinds.
In 1875, she published her book “Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures” and in 1879, founded the First Church of Christ, Scientist.
She was vilified by many, including the author Mark Twain, but her church and her teachings spread throughout the world. Today, the Mother Church is in Boston, Mass., and has 1,800 branches worldwide.
In 1908, when Eddy was 87 years old, she started the newspaper The Christian Science Monitor. Today it is an international daily newspaper that publishes Monday through Friday. It has won seven Pulitzer Prizes.



Kant-Rauch, Sharon, “First Church of Christ, Scientist Centennial,” Religion @ Florida State University, accessed June 13, 2024,

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