Christian Science in Colorado

The history of Colorado and of Christian Science may be said to be coincident in that the first edition of the Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" was published by Mrs. Eddy but a few months prior to the admission of Colorado as a state. The seed of the Christian Science movement in Colorado were sown in the spring of 1885 by Geo. B. Wickersham, and later that year a class was taught in the Denver home of Mrs. Chas. L. Hall by Bradford Sherman of Chicago. By the fall of 1888 a sufficient number had thus become interested to form an organization. Meetings were held in a private home, but soon it became necessary to move into a public hall to accommodate the in-creasing number.

In May, 1891, this organization was incorporated as a church, some of the charter members being Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Griffith, Mr. and Mrs. I. M. Low, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Swift, Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Frederick, Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Clark, Mrs. Martha Miller, W. C. Wix, Mrs. Frances Mann, Mrs. John R. Smith, J. H. Miller, Jas. L. Henshall. Mrs. R. Maufif. Mrs. M. G. Fulweider, and Wm. H. Yankee. During the autumn of that year the building of a church home was begun on Logan Street near Eighteenth Avenue, which was occupied the fol-lowing year. In five years this proved too small, and the building was enlarged to the capacity of the ground space owned; but in less than two years this also was filled to overflowing, and the problem of providing additional room again con-fronted the Denver Christian Scientists.

When the five lots at Fourteenth Avenue and Logan Street were purchased in 1899 'ess than three dollars was in the building fund of the church, but soon building operations were begun on an edifice which cost about one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. Although services were held therein beginning in May, 1904, it was not dedicated until the fall of 1906, as no Christian Science Church is dedicated until it is free from debt.

Although more than seventeen hundred people can be comfortably accommodated in the First Church edifice the continued growth of Christian Science necessitated further expansion, so in January, 1909, the Christian Scientists of the south side withdrew and formed Second Church. The members of this organization after meeting in the Masonic Temple for some time were forced to build in order to secure larger quarters, and they are now nicely situated in a beautiful church home on South Grant Street and Bayaud Avenue.

In the fall of 1909 the Christian Scientists living on the north side of Denver followed the example of their south side friends and started an organization, which also has prospered and grown, so that it is evident that their removal to the largest hall in that section of the city will but temporarily meet the need. A beautiful and conveniently located building site has been secured, on which a church home will soon be erected.

Prior to 1895, although there were many throughout the state interested in Christian Science, the organized church activities had been restricted to Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Canon City and Grand Junction, as up to that time the Christian Science churches were served by personal pastors. Chief among these had been Capt. John F. Linscott, Rev. L. P. Norcross, and Mrs. Ella Peck Sweet, the last named having started the churches in Colorado Springs, and Caņon City, where she preached for several years, occasionally supplying in Pueblo as well.

In the spring of 1895 Mrs. Eddy ordained the impersonal pastor system, which has since been used in all Christian Science organizations. Instead of depending on personal preachers, each organization has two readers who read alternately selections from the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. This has enabled the starting of many organizations, which have steadily grown, until there are now forty-three recognized Christian Science organizations in Colorado, with more than that number where informal meetings are being, held. 

 

History of Colorado

Source: History of Colorado, Wilbur Fisk Stone, Editor, Volume I, Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918

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