What is a Christian Science Reading Room?

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I was in college and had just started a new part-time job at a florist and gift shop.  One day the store’s buyer asked me to hang some new paintings throughout the store.  “Don’t lose my hammer!” she told me as I left her office.  After spending quite a bit of time hanging those works of art, I was asked by the manager to go to the bank to make a deposit.  On my way there, I realized I didn’t know where the hammer was!  It was my first weekend on the job and I panicked.

After making the deposit, I wanted a quiet place to just think for a while.  I passed a Christian Science Reading Room.  I knew I could go in there – my mom worked there.  I went in and sat in the study room.  The quiet and peace I felt there was just what I needed to be able to think clearly about this situation.  In a short while, I remembered that I had put the hammer on an antique desk in the corner of the salesroom.  I left the Reading Room, went back to the store, and there was the hammer – on the antique desk in the corner.  This may not seem much to you, but to a college student who really needed a job to pay for college costs, this quiet place was just what I wanted.

You may have seen one of the Christian Science Reading Rooms located in towns all over Illinois.  There is one on Jefferson Street in Naperville; one across from the Capitol Building in Springfield; and one in Chicago’s loop on Wabash and Wacker Drives.  As a matter of fact, there are approximately 1500 Christian Science Reading Rooms, not only all over the United States, but in nearly 80 other countries!  If you have seen one, you may have wondered, “What is a Christian Science Reading Room?  What goes on in there?”

A Christian Science Reading Room is part bookstore and part library.  Its purpose is to make available to the public resources that nurture spiritual discovery and healing.  These include online as well as print materials.  When you first go in, you will probably see a selection of Bibles and Bible resource books, as well as the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, available for purchase.  A librarian will be there to greet you, answer any questions you may have, or just invite you to browse. You will also find the Pulitzer-prize-winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor; Christian Science magazines, which include authenticated testimonies of healing through prayer alone; and a variety of biographies on Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science.

One of the most unique parts of a Reading Room is the quiet study room where anyone can pray, read the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson, search back issues of Christian Science magazines (in print or online), or just think quietly like I did that afternoon years ago.  These public places are a resource for anyone on a quest for spiritual understanding and are open to people of all faiths, backgrounds, and ways of life.

Each Reading Room is maintained by a local Christian Science church or churches, and is dedicated to helping visitors discover the peace, comfort, and spiritual solutions available to all from God.

There was another time when I worked at that florist shop when I needed to feel the quiet and peace of a Reading Room.  I had been working all day and was suffering from a terrible headache.  It was getting worse.  I thought maybe I should just go home, but I was needed because of a shortage of employees working that day.  I went to the Reading Room during my break, sat in a chair and just prayed, acknowledging the ever-presence of God’s healing love.

In a short time I felt at peace, and by the time my break was over, I was well.  I went back to the shop and worked until closing.

Next time you pass a Christian Science Reading Room, I hope you will feel free to go in, look around, make a purchase, read, or sit and pray in an atmosphere of peace and healing.

©2017 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois

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8 Responses to What is a Christian Science Reading Room?

  1. B.J. says:

    Reading Rooms are great places to work, also! I’ve made new friends, been reacquainted with old friends and had some really unique experiences just answering questions/needs of strangers who drop in — a fun place to spend time! Thanks for the “boost”, Tim!

  2. Marcia Cook says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Reading Room article!

  3. Lee Woodward says:

    Many years ago I took a job in a new city. Before starting I was given time to find a place to live. I was told that satisfactory places to rent were quite difficult to find. I decided to visit the local Christian Science Reading Room first before the hunt for a place to rent. Spending time studying at the reading room in my previous city actually helped lead me to this new job. I talked for a short time with the reading room staff member. Before leaving I mentioned that I needed to start my search. The worker told me of a place in a duplex right next to where she lived. She gave me the phone number of the owner. I made contact to meet early that evening. Before sunset I had a quite satisfactory place to live. I obviously started at the right place! The workers at my new company couldn’t believe I found this place so quickly. I had held to the thought that God had brought me this far; he wouldn’t let me down now. And of course He didn’t.

  4. Rob Scott says:

    Thank you Tim for your articles.

    I also want to thank Lee Woodward for sharing his demonstration. It is exactly what I needed to hear. It almost felt like a Wed testimony.

    The last two sentences moved me to the core as I am in search of housing and had the same thought just this morning and then read it hear in this blog.

    Keep up all your good work here. It is needed and healing.

    Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL Mankind.

    Rob Scott
    Oaxaca, Mexico

    p.s. Below is a link to a movie (Lion) which was also written up in the CSMonitor on the thousands of children searching for a better life and “Home”. I used it in my blog to raise awareness and for educational purposes. The harvest is full.

    https://seekeroftruthrfs.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/one-mans-search-for-home-i-whisper-in-her-ear-im-here/

  5. Lois Carlson says:

    Hooray for Reading Rooms! When I was looking for a house in Evanston, the realtor’s office was right around the corner of Second Church’s RR. As she was managing appmts that day, she encouraged us to wait for her in the RR. The prayer and quiet was so refreshing we were clearly directed to our new house, and made the offer after the two day search. She was astonished, but we were settled and at peace.

  6. Bonnie Mitchinson says:

    Many years ago, during a very discouraging time of my life, I was staying with relatives in a city far from my home where I visited a Christian Science Reading Room each day. The staff there were very kind and encouraging. However, one day I went to the Reading Room and was devastated to find it closed. As I sat in my car on the verge of tears, I saw a box on the sidewalk in front of the RR with a sign on it that said, “Free Literature”. I decided to take one of the free magazines and sit in my car and read it. I read an article entitled, “Healing Grief About Loved Ones”. I thought, “This is just what I need!” I soon returned to my home but continued to read that article every day for the next 10 months when I met the man who had written that article. Eight months later we were married.

    • Rob Scott says:

      Amen, Bonnie.

      This is beautiful.

      Thank you all for these healing insights. They helped me today. In return I will help others.

      Great discussion and sharing.

      TWLS,
      Rob

  7. Robby Butler says:

    Thank you Tim! Reading Rooms are providing a wonderful service to mankind!

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