Tucked in among the restaurants, bars and boutiques in downtown Greenville is an innocuous-looking building called the Christian Science Reading Room. Visitors who have come across this storefront may have wondered, “What is the Christian Science Reading Room, and why does it always look closed?”
Christian Science Reading Rooms date back to the founding of the Christian Science church by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879.
According to the bylaws that govern the Christian Science church, each established church is required to have a reading room — preferably in an easily accessible place — where works connected to the Christian Science faith can be studied and purchased.
Nearly 1,200 Christian Science Reading Rooms can be found worldwide, according to the church’s website.
The one in Greenville even has a Facebook page.
“The Christian Science Reading Room, located in downtown Greenville, South Carolina, is a gift to our community from the members of First Church of Christ Scientist, Greenville,” the Facebook page states.
Inside, visitors will find a quiet place for prayer and study as well as a bookstore where the Bible; writings by Eddy, including the textbook “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures;” The Christian Science Monitor newspaper; and Christian Science periodicals may be studied, borrowed or purchased.
According to the First Church of Christ Scientist, Greenville website, “current authenticated cases of healing accomplished solely through the practice of Christian Science” can be found in the periodicals.
Each reading room is staffed by volunteers called librarians who are available to answer questions and assist visitors in learning more about Christian Science.
The Greenville reading room is open to the public 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday. All are welcome.