What the BA Isn’t, Part 3

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.

This month I’m covering three misconceptions about the BA:

  • The BA is open only to church members for Christian Science nursing.
  • The BA is only for New Englanders.
  • The BA is a 90-year-old anachronism.

Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees in 1919, the same year that the BA opened its doors. Also in 1919:

  • The first nonstop, transatlantic flight took place.
  • The Senate passed the Women’s Suffrage bill.
  • The treaty of Versailles ending WWI was signed.
  • The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution  was ratified, establishing prohibition.
  • The 23rd Boston Marathon was held.

These events and others from 1919 help give me some perspective on why there are so many misconceptions about the BA.  When an organization has been operating for 93 years, news and information don’t always keep pace with its actual progress and changes.

That’s why social media has been so great for the BA, allowing us to reach a broader audience with current, updated information.  Facebook, electronic newsletters, Twitter, and LinkedIn all help to keep the BA connected with its audience, and provide the critical feedback that we need to stay current and responsive to today’s needs.

So, let’s talk about a few more of these misconceptions…

  • First, that the BA’s visitors, guests, residents, and patients are primarily from New England.
  • While a majority of patients at the BA (and patients with the BA’s Visiting Christian Science Nursing Service) are from New England, that is not true of our residents, guests, and visitors who are primarily from outside New England. We host approximately 900 Rest & Study guests yearly who come from all regions of the US and from places around the world.
  • Many guests who stay at the BA are attending Christian Science Associations held here, and many are visiting The Mother Church, or other locations in the Boston area.  There are several times during our busy season from April until mid-November when there is an Association held every Saturday of the month. Our staff and Christian Science nurses in training also represent a large portion of the US and beyond. At one point we counted a total of 17 languages spoken by our various staff members. And our international Christian Science Nurses Training School brings together Christian Science nurses from around the world, with the majority of those attending classes living outside New England.
  • Another misconception is that only Christian Scientists who are church members may be admitted for Christian Science nursing. The requirements for admission are that a patient 1) be receiving treatment by a Christian Science practitioner currently listed in the Christian Science Journal and 2) be relying solely on Christian Science for healing. There is not a requirement that a patient be a member of The Mother Church or a branch church. We have welcomed those who are seeking healing through Christian Science treatment and who have only recently learned of Christian Science.
  • Finally, there is a misconception that the BA is some kind of anachronism stuck in the 1920’s and 30’s. The fact is that the activity going on at the BA, with its thousands of guests, visitors, residents, and patients every year, ensures that fresh and new thought is constantly brought forward. Added to that is the daily engagement and feedback from our social media audience — who may only visit us online, but who are able to stay up-to-date and connected with our growth and progress. We continue to cherish our founding and the many years that the BA was operated by The Mother Church.  This provided strong roots for the BA. And we also cherish the care and nurturing of the BA by those who are now actively engaged with us — demanding a freshness and vibrant activity that will move us forward into our second hundred years.

8 Responses to What the BA Isn’t, Part 3

  1. Thank you, Janiva, this is really helpful and clears away some misconceptions, cristina, Italy

  2. Dear Janiva,

    I am so glad to know that I could be treated at the BA. Even though I am not a Christian Scientist, I would rather be treated at the BA than at a medical facility.

    Melinna from New Mexico

    • David Mac-Rizzo says:

      I think this need some clarification. One must be a practising “Scientiest”–regardless of being a member of The First Chruch of Christ, Scienties or not– have a “Christian Science Practitioner currently listed in the Christian Science Journal” treating you through prayer and one must rely “solely of Christian Science for healing.”
      These are key to being admitted to the BA.

      • Janiva says:

        Thank you for asking for clarification regarding admission policies for Christian Science nursing care. It is an important point to clarify because Christian Science nursing can sometimes be thought of as “for members only.” In my work with Christian Science nursing services and facilities I have seen a number of individuals who although new to Christian Science have requested care. Some had only recently learned of Christian Science — sometimes through reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, some worked with colleagues who were Christian Scientists, some were given no hope by the medical community and sought an alternative, some learned of Christian Science nursing through walking into a CS Reading Room. Each was seeking healing through spiritual means alone.

        It has always been a joy and privilege to support those who have only recently sought healing in Christian Science and who are calling upon the Church Manual By-law, “Christian Science Nurse”. And it is in keeping with the BA’s mission to provide a refuge and services that minister to the needs of mankind with Christian Science nursing.

  3. Another great issue from the BA

  4. Another good job Janiva

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