The original order for Thanksgiving services in Christian Science churches was published in the October 30, 1902, Christian Science Sentinel1 and the November 1902 Christian Science Journal.2 The wording about the testimony period of the service was the same as what Mary Baker Eddy had specified in an October 12, 1902, letter to Hermann Hering, First Reader of The Mother Church—testimonies, she said, were to be by “members of the church.”
William B. Johnson, Clerk of The Mother Church, wrote to Eddy on December 2, 1905:
It is eminently probable that there might be persons in the audience who although not members of the Church have been wonderfully healed and whose testimony would be of great value. The elimination of these words ‘members of the church’ would give all who have been benefited, especially those who have been very lately helped, a chance to show their appreciation of Christian Science.”3
Johnson recommended the complete elimination of that phrase. What followed was the change in the Church Manual to its present wording: “Testimonies by Christian Scientists, appropriate for the occasion”4
- “Thanksgiving Day,” Christian Science Sentinel, October 30, 1902, http://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/xupdd93mhu?s=t.
- “Thanksgiving Day,” The Christian Science Journal, November 1902, http://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/lx1ub67o20?s=t.
- William B. Johnson to Mary Baker Eddy, 2 December 1905, L00447.
- Church Manual, 125