The meeting marked the 10th anniversary of the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, founded to introduce the general public to the life and accomplishments of Eddy and to provide a rich archive for scholars studying her life and work. During the past year, for example, a resident scholar’s research has shown that an early, unflattering biography of Eddy, published in 1909, was not, in fact, the ghost-written work of Willa Cather, the celebrated American novelist, as had been assumed for decades. The new research has “completely shredded that argument,” Mr. Manchester said.
In its first decade the library, located on the church’s campus in Boston, has received a half-million visitors and annually received about 6,000 questions about Eddy and Christian Science, said Mike Davis, a researcher at the library.
The meeting also reported on the growth of interest in Christian Science in Africa and on what Lyle Young, one of the five members of the Christian Science Board of Directors, the church’s governing body, called “a historic trip to Africa” by that board.
Mr. Young and Bosede Bakarey, a Christian Science lecturer and teacher based in Nigeria, both noted that healing through prayer in Christian Science is being seen in Africa, including cases of AIDS.
The website of The Christian Science Monitor, published by the church, received more than 12 million unique visitors in May alone, making its journalism more available than ever to readers, reported John Yemma, editor of the Monitor. A new online website, JSH-Online, an online archive of more than 100 years' worth of articles and testimonies of healing from the church’s religious periodicals, went live in April. In its first month it recorded more than 1 million page views by visitors, said Dorothy Estes, editor of the periodicals.
In a brief financial report, Nathan Talbot, chairman of the board of directors, said that the church had $499 million in funds on hand, that it had spent $99 million during its last fiscal year, and that it was free of indebtedness.