Part 2 – What the BA Isn't — Owned, Operated and Endowed by The Mother Church

I’ve written a great deal about what the
Benevolent Association is. Sometimes you can
learn as much or more about an organization by
learning what it isn’t.

For instance, the BA isn’t:

  1. Mary Baker Eddy’s former residence in Brookline, Massachusetts (covered in last month’s blog)
  2. Owned, operated and endowed by The Mother Church (subject of this month’s blog)
  3. Open only to church members for Christian Science nursing
  4. Only for New Englanders
  5. A 90-year-old anachronism

After 96 years it’s understandable that there are some misconceptions about the Benevolent Association’s history and ownership. For the first 65 years of that history the BA was owned and operated by The Mother Church and its Board of Directors. Then in 1981 the BA was transferred to an independent Board of Trustees. This formal change was announced in a Notice in The Christian Science Journal, March 1981, titled “Progress report on Sanatorium at Chestnut Hill” from the Christian Science Board of Directors. Many may have missed that small Notice. Even now, 31 years following the transfer of ownership of the BA, the misconception persists that the BA is somehow part of The Mother Church.

The misconception may be partly due to the BA’s close proximity to The Mother Church — we’re located only 4.5 miles down the road in Chestnut Hill. The BA maintains close ties with The Mother Church, and we are the closest local Christian Science nursing facility, so many Mother Church employees call upon the BA for Christian Science nursing. We also serve the many visitors to The Mother Church who stay at the BA on Rest & Study, or call upon Christian Science nursing.

Many of the BA’s staff are local members of The Mother Church and serve on committees, and several of our current staff were previously employed by The Mother Church, and some previous BA employees are now working at The Mother Church.

Despite the close working relationship the BA maintains with The Mother Church, we are no longer officially connected. And as is the case with all other Christian Science nursing organizations, we are expected to operate on our own financially. We call upon individuals in the Northeastern United States to help financially support the Visiting Christian Science Nursing Service as well as the in-patient and outpatient services of the BA. Additionally, we call upon a larger geographical area to help support the BA’s Training School that blesses many Christian Science nursing organizations throughout the United States and beyond.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – The BA isn’t simply regional, restricted, or anachronistic.

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