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The Winnipeg Free Press

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First Church of Christ, Scientist, Winnipeg — home of Christian Science since 1911

January 22, 1955

Church in Winnipeg dates back to January 1907

January and December are notable months in the history of Christian Science in Winnipeg.

It was in January, 1907, that the First Church of Christ, Scientist, was incorporated. It was in December, 1924, that the large and fine Christian Science Church on River Avenue and Nassau Street, completely debt-free, was dedicated. Services had been held in the uncompleted building as early as March 19, 1911. The first service in the completed edifice was held [Sunday] May 7 1916.

Sixteen years before the death of the noted foundress of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in December 1910, the first Christian Science congregation was organized in Winnipeg in 1894, and later for some years held its meetings in the Liberal Club hall, 310 Notre Dame Avenue. In addition to their regular Sunday services, a meeting was held every Wednesday evening. Lectures and the distribution of authorized Christian Science literature formed an important part of the church’s work.

With the incorporation in 1907, the active practice of healing methods of Christian Science commenced, and steps were at once taken to choose a site and build a church. When the first services were opened in the ground floor portion in 1911, they were held in the large Sunday School room, which had a seating capacity of 350. The main auditorium was planned to seat 1,060.

One of the proudest days in the history of the Winnipeg Christian Science congregation was the fine Sunday in May, 1916, when the first service was held in the fully completed $100,000 church. The Free Press reporter who attended the service wrote: “This church is a notable addition to Winnipeg places of worship. Built after the form of a Greek cross, the foundations of the building are of white stone. Four grand stairways, each 5 feet wide, lead to the main auditorium, which is fitted with mahogany pews. The floors are laid with handsome green carpet. The organ is completely obscured from public view, increasing the charm and mystery of the musical service.”


Unknown Source -
(Likely The Winnipeg Free Press)

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One of Winnipeg's finest


River Avenue Edifice Nine Years in Building

Services in the First Church of Christ, Scientist, on River Avenue, began in March, 46 years ago.  The church was then uncompleted, but the large Sunday school room, with its seating capacity of 350, was available.

A little over five years later, in May, 1916, the first service was held in the then fully-completed church, which had cost $100,000.   This large debt was completely lifted eight and a half years after the completion of the church, which was dedicated in Yuletide, 1924.  The big Christian Science edifice as it is popularly called, seats 1,060 in its main auditorium.

Well within the lifetime of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, the organization of the first Christian Science congregation took place in Winnipeg, in 1894.  For some years, meetings were held in the hall of the Young Liberal Club, across from the old Winnipeg theater on Notre Dame Avenue.   In addition to the regular Sunday services, a meeting is held every Wednesday evening.  Lectures, and the distribution of authorized literature, formed an important part of the work.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was incorporated in 1907.  With this event commenced the active practice of healing methods of Christian Science.  An ample central site on River Avenue was chosen.   The ground plan indicated a building of a cathedral proportions, verified as the great church rose.  From corner stone to completion, the construction occupied about nine years.


The Winnipeg Free Press

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Changes to the interior of First Church of Christ, Scientist

December 19, 1964

Christian Science Church Renovates

Beginning in April 1894, a small group of students of Christian Science in Winnipeg held services in various small halls. This went on until in 1910, for no suitably large hall was available.

The Christian Science organization bought land at the corner of River Avenue and Nassau Street (then a new part of the City), and by March, 1911, the first unit — the Sunday school room — seating about 300, was completed and services were held there. By this time the organization was incorporated as First Church of Christ, Scientist in Winnipeg.

Soon it became apparent that a larger accommodation was needed and although the First World War was on — in 1915 — a substantial loan was underwritten by the members and friends and construction began that Summer.

The structure was completed and the first service held on the first Sunday in June, 1916, in an auditorium seating about 1,060 people. Accommodation for Sunday school which had grown to over 400 was provided in the first unit of the Building.

At that time, in 1916, a Free Press reporter wrote: "The interior is an architectural treat. It is finished in ivory white. Four stairways, curving gracefully, lead to the main Auditorium, which is fitted with mahogany pews and has a gradual slope, theatre style. The floors are laid with handsome green carpet.

"The windows are of a leaded glass, fish scale pattern. The lighting is done from alcoves."

Healing through Christian Science was begun before 1894 and has continued throughout the years. In a dedicatory address in December of 1924 (Christian Science churches are dedicated when free of debt), this statement was included: "The growth of the church was marked by healings of many cases of disease and moral infirmity when the individual felt there was 'no further help' available.

"In gratitude for such healings and reformations, the congregation and membership grew until branches of The Mother Church grew in number in Winnipeg."

Testimonial meetings on Wednesday evenings have been held throughout the years, without interruption. Without prearranged talks, these testimonies are given freely from the floor by those grateful for the healing of themselves or their Friends.

Since 1962, additions have been made to the original edifice, providing a nursery, in conjunction with the Sunday School. There, small children, whose parents attend the church services, are taken care of. Committee rooms were added through changes in the structure, new heating apparatus installed and other improvements made. In 1963 new lighting was installed.

This has been described by member of the improvement committee, as follows: "The great circular skylight over the center of the auditorium has been replaced by a saucer-shaped panel of acoustic plaster. The old lighting fixtures were replaced by 21 specially designed 30-inch globes of translucent plastic which provide two levels of intensity and create an even distribution of light throughout the auditorium.

"Twelve of these hang from the circular rim of the central ceiling panel, creating a coronet of globes which contrasts effectively with the straight line geometry of this impressively proportioned Renaissance interior."

The Casavant Frères organ was also renovated during the past five years and is considered one of the best of its size in the city.

The entire Auditorium, it is stated in a church report, has been repainted in a "monochromatic scheme of old gold, ranging from the deeper rich tones on the walls to the off-white of the ceiling. The total result is one of unity, peace and harmony, thereby forming an appropriate and effective setting for the church services." — S.J.S.

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