The Vancouver congregation had its beginning in the summer of 1904, when a small group of Christian Scientists began to hold informal services in their homes.
On April 30, 1905, a special meeting was held to organize a Christian Science Society. Formal organization was effected on Sunday, October 30, 1905. In 1907 the group was recognized by The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, as Christian Science Society, Vancouver, Washington.
On April 9, 1912, a decision was made to discuss building a church on land at 26th and Broadway, and on May 22, 1912, a bungalow type structure, seating 120 was ready for occupancy.
The formalities for the organization of a church were completed on October 19, 1912, and on November 30, 1912, a charter was granted by the State of Washington.
In the winter of 1930-31, the existing building was remodeled and enlarged and a new Sunday school annex was added making it possible to hold Sunday school and church services at the same hour. In 1934 the loan from The Mother Church was repaid and a church dedication was held.
In 1954 it was decided that there was need for a larger church and Sunday school. Land was purchased to the north and east of the building, an architect was selected, plans were drawn up and presented to the membership, and in 1955 the plans were approved and it was voted to proceed at once with construction.
The new church of Norman brick in tans and brown was built with very little disruption of services. The auditorium and foyer were erected and the first services were held in the new church on July 25, 1956.
Then the Sunday school and the connecting structure were begun. In May 1959 this section was completed and classes were held in the new Sunday school. The construction of the entire building was completed in September 1959. The church was dedicated on September 10, 1961.
In the year 2004, two centennial celebrations were held to mark the occasion: one was musical in nature and the other similar to the previous dedication celebration. Five bound documents commemorate research done in preparation for the centennial and are kept in the church board room. These include:
- Transcripts from interviews with long-time members of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Vancouver, Washington. The remarks shared in these interviews bring out some interesting and sometimes little known information about the history of the Vancouver church and its relationship to our community.
- Testimonies of healing resulting from the study and application of the teachings of Christian Science from Vancouver, Washington. These testimonies have been published in The Christian Science Journal and the Christian Science Sentinel. This is just a small sampling of the healings that have taken place in the lives of the members of First Chruch of Christ, Scientist, Vancouver, Washington from 1910 – 2004.
- Testimonies of healing and comments by members of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Vancouver, Washington, relating to inspiration gained from various hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal.
- Vancouver’s church history as recorded by several early members of this church and many early photographs of the different buildings along the way that were the physical manifestation of our church. It is interesting to note that Mrs. Eddy’s definition of church does not include a physical building when considering the history of our church.
“Church. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle. The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.” Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 583, line 13.