The congregation of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, is looking for a new home.
After 65 years at the present location, 105 E. 100 North, the church's board of directors has decided it's time to find another facility, or even better, a vacant lot."The truth is we'd like to build a new church," board chairman Jim Morand said. "The current building has outgrown its usefulness and is in need of major renovation."
Right now the board is in the process of going through church membership lists. At present there are 30 members in the congregation and they are the sole financial support for the church. Many members are older, according to member Bliss Hansen, and it is becoming more difficult for them to climb the many stairs to the building.
"We are really looking for an existing building or to build a church that would be on ground level," Hansen said.
Considered by its congregation as a haven and a place to learn of God and his power of love, the current church was built in 1926 with varied artistic touches, including Greek columns.
Sale of the property is being handled by Provo Real Estate, and according to Morand, the asking price is $125,000.
In its downtown location, the church has served as a visual reminder that there are diverse religions and cultures found in Provo and the surrounding communities. The Christian Scientists have been in the area for nearly a century.
The local church began as an informal society of worshippers in 1897 and the group was officially recognized in 1898. That same year, members started meeting in a rented room of the Smoot Building, which still stands on East Center street.
Though Christian Scientists are a tiny minority in Utah Valley, their influence and strength is felt not just within the congregation, but in the community. Perhaps the most visual area of their faith comes as they contribute time and materials to serve local residents at the Christian Science Reading Room, 159 N. University.
The Reading Room contains various church publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, World Monitor Magazine, Christian Science Journal Monthly and Christian Science Sentinel Weekly, the Bible and other reference books.
The Church of Christ, Scientist, was founded by Mary Baker Eddy, a woman from New England who was born in 1821 and who in midlife was healed after her condition was declared fatal by her doctor.
Following her healing and several years of deep study and prayer, she wrote Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, a text to unlock the spiritual meaning of the Bible.
There are no clergy, and services are conducted by members who are elected to serve as readers. There are also Christian Science practitioners who are devoted full-time to spiritual healing.
Sunday instruction begins at 10 a.m. with another meeting on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Periodically the church holds lectures on Christian Science and hosts nationally known church lecturers.