American Art Journal | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

American Art Journal

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18    [American Art Journal, New York, January 26, 1895]

         “OUR PRAYER IN STONE”

         Such is the excellent name given to a new Boston church.

21    Few people outside its own circles realize how extensive is

         the belief in Christian Science. There are several sects of

         mental healers, but this new edifice on Back Bay, just off

24    Huntington Avenue, not far from the big Mechanics

         Building and the proposed site of the new Music Hall,

         belongs to the followers of Rev. Mary Baker Glover Eddy,

27    a lady born of an old New Hampshire family, who, after


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1      many vicissitudes, found herself in Lynn, Mass., healed by

         the power of divine Mind, and thereupon devoted herself

3      to imparting this faith to her fellow-beings. Coming to

         Boston about 1880, she began teaching, gathered an

         association of students, and organized a church. For

6      several years past she has lived in Concord, N. H., near

         her birthplace, owning a beautiful estate called Pleasant

         View; but thousands of believers throughout this country

9      have joined The Mother Church in Boston, and have now

         erected this edifice at a cost of over two hundred thousand

         dollars, every bill being paid.

12    Its appearance is shown in the pictures we are permitted

         to publish. In the belfry is a set of tubular chimes. Inside

         is a basement room, capable of division into seven excellent

15    class-rooms, by the use of movable partitions. The main

         auditorium has wide galleries, and will seat over a thousand

         in its exceedingly comfortable pews. Scarcely any wood-

18    work is to be found. The floors are all mosaic, the steps

         marble, and the walls stone. It is rather dark, often too

         much so for comfortable reading, as all the windows are of

21    colored glass, with pictures symbolic of the tenets of the

         organization. In the ceiling is a beautiful sunburst window.

         Adjoining the chancel is a pastor’s study; but for an

24    indefinite time their prime instructor has ordained that the

         only pastor shall be the Bible, with her book, called

         “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” In the

27    tower is a room devoted to her, and called “Mother’s

         Room,” furnished with all conveniences for living, should

         she wish to make it a home by day or night. Therein is

30    a portrait of her in stained glass; and an electric light,


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1      behind an antique lamp, kept perpetually burning (1) in her

         honor; though she has not yet visited her temple, which

3      was dedicated on New Year’s Sunday in a somewhat novel

         way.

         There was no special sentence or prayer of consecration,

6      but continuous services were held from nine to four o’clock,

         every hour and a half, so long as there were attendants;

         and some people heard these exercises four times repeated.

9      The printed program was for some reason not followed,

         certain hymns and psalms being omitted. There was sing-

         ing by a choir and congregation. The Pater Noster was

12    repeated in the way peculiar to Christian Scientists, the

         congregation repeating one sentence and the leader re-

         sponding with its parallel interpretation by Mrs. Eddy.

15    Antiphonal paragraphs were read from the book of

         Revelation and her work respectively. The sermon,

         prepared by Mrs. Eddy, was well adapted for its purpose,

18    and read by a professional elocutionist, not an adherent of

         the order, Mrs. Henrietta Clark Bemis, in a clear emphatic

         style. The solo singer, however, was a Scientist, Miss Elsie

21    Lincoln; and on the platform sat Joseph Armstrong,

         formerly of Kansas, and now the business manager of the

         Publishing Society, with the other members of the Christian

24    Science Board of Directors — Ira O. Knapp, Edward P.

         Bates, Stephen A. Chase, — gentlemen officially connected

         with the movement. The children of believing families

27    collected the money for the Mother’s Room, and seats were

         especially set apart for them at the second dedicatory

         service. Before one service was over and the auditors left

30    by the rear doors, the front vestibule and street (despite

         (1) At Mrs. Eddy’s request the lamp was not kept burning.


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1      the snowstorm) were crowded with others, waiting for

         admission.

3      On the next Sunday the new order of service went

         into operation. There was no address of any sort, no

         notices, no explanation of Bible or their textbook. Judge

6      Hanna, who was a Colorado lawyer before coming into

         this work, presided, reading in clear, manly, and intelli-

         gent tones, the Quarterly Bible Lesson, which happened

9      that day to be on Jesus’ miracle of loaves and fishes.

         Each paragraph he supplemented first with illustrative

         Scripture parallels, as set down for him, and then by pas-

12    sages selected for him from Mrs. Eddy’s book. The place

         was again crowded, many having remained over a week

         from among the thousands of adherents who had come

15    to Boston for this auspicious occasion from all parts of

         the country. The organ, made by Farrand & Votey in

         Detroit, at a cost of eleven thousand dollars, is the gift of

18    a wealthy Universalist gentleman, but was not ready for

         the opening. It is to fill the recess behind the spacious

         platform, and is described as containing pneumatic wind-

21    chests throughout, and having an AEolian attachment.

         It is of three-manual compass, C. C. C. to C. 4, 61 notes;

         and pedal compass, C. C. C. to F. 30. The great organ

24    has double open diapason (stopped bass), open diapason,

         dulciana, viola di gamba, doppel flute, hohl flute, octave,

         octave quint, superoctave, and trumpet, — 61 pipes each.

27    The swell organ has bourdon, open diapason, salicional,

         aeoline, stopped diapason, gemshorn, flute harmonique,

         flageolet, cornet — 3 ranks, 183, — cornopean, oboe, vox

30    humana — 61 pipes each. The choir organ, enclosed in


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1      separate swell-box, has geigen principal, dolce, concert

         flute, quintadena, fugara, flute d’amour, piccolo harmo-

3      nique, clarinet, — 61 pipes each. The pedal organ has

         open diapason, bourdon, lieblich gedeckt (from stop 10),

         violoncello-wood, — 30 pipes each. Couplers: swell to

6      great; choir to great; swell to choir; swell to great oc-

         taves, swell to great sub-octaves; choir to great sub-

         octaves; swell octaves; swell to pedal; great to pedal;

9      choir to pedal. Mechanical accessories: swell tremulant,

         choir tremulant, bellows signal; wind indicator. Pedal

         movements: three affecting great and pedal stops, three

12    affecting swell and pedal stops; great to pedal reversing

         pedal; crescendo and full organ pedal; balanced great

         and choir pedal; balanced swell pedal.

15    Beautiful suggestions greet you in every part of this

         unique church, which is practical as well as poetic, and

         justifies the name given by Mrs. Eddy, which stands at

18    the head of this sketch. J. H. W.




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