Lynn, the “City of Firsts” was the birthplace of Christian Science.
The beginnings of the Christian Science church in Lynn are linked with its Discoverer and Founder, Mary Baker Eddy. She lived in Lynn from 1864 to 1866, briefly in 1868, and then from 1870 to 1882.
It was in this city that the first demonstrations of Christian Science healing were made by Mrs. Eddy. Here she taught her first students from the Bible and wrote, “The Bible contains the recipe for all healing.” Here in 1875 she completed and gave to the world her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. And here in the summer of 1875 in Good Templars Hall the first Christian Science church services were held, with Mrs. Eddy as preacher. These services continued in Lynn until 1882 when she moved to Boston. She persevered in sharing her discovery in the face of fierce opposition. Even critic Mark Twain commented, “In several ways she is the most interesting woman who ever lived and the most extraordinary.”
The Mary Baker Eddy monument at the corner of Market and Oxford Streets marks the location where she had a serious fall on the ice on February 1, 1866. The next day she was brought home to her room at 23 Paradise Road in Swampscott. Turning to God and her Bible for healing she immediately felt the divine presence transforming her thinking and she recovered. Eventually she pointed to this time as her discovery of Christian Science, since it took her months to actually understand how she was healed. As she earnestly studied and practiced what she was learning, she came to understand that the healing work done by Christ Jesus was based on a divine principle that all could learn and practice. Thus the name Christian Science was given to her discovery.
In October 1901 the Lynn church purchased the former first home of Mrs. Eddy at 8 Broad Street and opened it to visitors. This was where she finished writing her textbook and married Asa Gilbert Eddy on January 1, 1877. The Lynn members hoped that it might be utilized as a church home, but this plan was later abandoned upon advice in a letter from Mrs. Eddy “that we build on a new foundation.”
The current church site was purchased in 1957 at 153 Lynn Shore Drive across from Red Rock. This beach (Kings Beach) has historical significance as it is where Mary Baker Eddy loved to spend quiet time at Red Rock and along this beach healed a little boy crippled by two club feet in 1866. She also healed John Greenleaf Whittier of an advanced stage of consumption in one treatment. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross wrote that “Mrs. Eddy should have the respect, admiration, and love of the whole nation, for she is its greatest woman.”
A new church building was erected with first services held on Sunday, May 18, 1958. The name was changed to First Church of Christ, Scientist, Lynn-Swampscott, thus linking the locations where Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science and where she completed the first edition of the Christian Science textbook.
Mrs. Eddy closed a February 24, 1904 letter to this church: “May God abundantly bless again with the healing power of Truth—your city.”
In 2006, The Mother Church in Boston sold the 8 Broad Street house to Longyear Museum.
Everyone is warmly invited to attend Sunday services and Sunday School at 10:45, Wednesday evening testimony meetings at 7:30, and explore the Reading Room in the church currently open on Wednesday from 5 to 7 and Saturday from 2 to 4.