File photo/The Herald-Dispatch The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Huntington, was dedicated Jan. 15, 1939.

HUNTINGTON - Christian Science is said to have found its way to Huntington in the mid-1890s, roughly 30 years after Mary Baker Eddy founded the religion in Boston with her 1865 publication of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."

As the story goes, a Huntington woman received the book as a gift from a relative. Having no interest in it, she gave it to a next-door neighbor, who, after reading it several times, was healed of a serious illness. She praised the teachings of Christian Science to her friends and neighbors. Soon, a small group of people were meeting weekly in their homes to study Christian Science lesson plans.

In 1903, the little group rented a room in the Thompson-Pierce building at 417 9th Street where they held Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings. That same year saw the Mother Church recognize the group as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Huntington. Attendance grew, and so the group rented a small building at 6th Avenue and 6th Street that had been vacated by St. Paul Lutheran Church after it built a new building at 721 12th Ave.

Determined to build a new building of their own, the Christian Scientists bought a choice corner lot at 11th Avenue and 12th Street in 1921 and retained Huntington architect Sidney L. Day to design a new church building. The first service at the new church was held on Dec. 4, 1927. In the Christian Science faith, the dedication of a church takes place only when it is free of debt. Thanks to the generous contributions of its members, the Huntington church was dedicated Jan. 15, 1939.

After an early meteoric rise, nationwide Christian Science membership has steadily declined in recent decades. Membership in Huntington reflected that trend. Eventually, the Huntington church decided it no longer could afford the upkeep on its historic structure and reluctantly put it up for sale. In 1999, Christ Community Church, a nondenominational evangelical congregation, purchased the former Christian Science Church.

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