Second Church of Christ, Scientist
As the First Church of Christ, Scientist grew during the mid-1900’s it became necessary to establish another church, the Second Church of Christ, Scientist. The organizational meetings to plan this church lasted from January to March 1966. On April 3rd, 1966 this informal group of Christian Scientists held their first service in the West End Community Center. Soon after, in April 1967, a Reading Room was established at Willow Lawn. On April 20th, 1967 the group was officially recognized as a Christian Science Society by the Mother Church. Eventually this group was confirmed as the Second Church of Christ, Scientist on February 29th, 1988. A building site for the church was purchased in May 1969 at 8791 River Road. This church was built further out in the suburbs so more people would have access to the Christian Science community. On April 20th, 1977 the congregation broke ground and on April 2nd, 1978 the first service was held. The Second Church of Christ, Scientist was dedicated debt free in 1987.
The Second Church of Christ, Scientist has a service every Sunday at 10 am. There is no pastor or any other ordained clergy; rather, the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures serve as the pastor. The church elects two members every two years to serve as First Reader and Second Reader. The heart of the service is the Lesson-Sermon. This is prepared weekly by the Mother Church in Boston and relayed to each branch church. Therefore, with the exception of some scriptural and hymn selections, the service is identical to the one at the First Church of Christ, Scientist. During the Lesson-Sermon, the Second Reader reads verses from the Bible while the First Reader reads correlative passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The Sunday service also includes hymns, silent prayer, reading aloud of the Lord’s Prayer, recitation of the Scientific Statement of Being, collection, and concludes with benediction. Sunday School is available during this time for those up to age twenty. There is also a Wednesday Evening Testimonial Meeting, beginning at 8 pm. This service is put together by the First Reader and includes testimonials from those who were healed and cured through Christian Science. Childcare is available at both services.
Each Church of Christ, Scientist establishes and operates a reading room, located within the community. The Second Church of Christ, Scientist runs a Christian Science Reading Room on West Cary Street in Carytown. Open to the public, this reading room provides a quiet and peaceful place for people to read, study, think, and pray. Visitors can sit, relax, read the Bible, the daily issue of The Christian Science Monitor or even borrow a copy of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Other Christian Science Literature is also available for borrowing or purchasing. An attendant is always available in the reading room during the hours of operation to answer any questions.
Address: 3431 West Cary Street Hours of Operation:
Richmond, VA 23221 Wednesday-Friday 12pm-4pm
(804) 358-1232 Saturday 10am-4pm
Holidays and Festivals
The members of the Second Church of Christ, Scientist celebrate all of the traditional Christian holidays, primarily Easter and Christmas. How each of these holidays is celebrated is left to the discretion of the member. Thanksgiving is also regarded as a religious holiday and is commemorated every Thanksgiving Thursday with a church service.
Programs and Outreach
The Christian Science Reading Room on West Cary Street is the Second Church of Christ, Scientist’s primary method of community outreach. The church itself does not operate any charity functions, preferring instead to let members donate directly to organizations or through the Mother Church. The Christian Science Publishing Society, established by the Mother Church in Boston, provides a large amount of community outreach through its publications and website, available to everybody. The publications include the monthly editions of The Christian Science Journal and The Herald of Christian Science, the weekly Christian Science Sentinel, and Christian Science Quarterly. Another popular and highly regarded publication is The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper. The Christian Science Sentinel Radio Edition is also available to Richmonders, every Sunday at 7:30 AM on WLEE 990 AM. During this broadcast, interviews are conducted and discussions ensue about the meanings of the Bible and Science and Health as applied to current events. The website www.spirituality.com is also a form of community outreach. Open to people of all religious beliefs, this website offers inspirational articles and testimonials on a variety of topics, such as relationships, self identity, and wellness. The weekly Lesson-Sermon can also be read and studied from this site.
Membership Size and Composition
While no official records of church membership are released, the membership size appears small with people of primarily European-American descent.
8791 River Road
Richmond, VA 23229
Prepared by Megan Donald (June, 2005)