The first known Christian Science institutional work in Oregon began in 1900. In the Salem area, institutional services were handled by the churches' care committees through the 1960s. Members rotated through the duties of holding regular or semi-regular services at the Oregon State Penitentiary, but services were sporadic.
During the 1970s, a paid chaplain was employed and a wholly volunteer steering committee was set up to support this work. Some written reports were provided, but the main form of communication to the churches was from the chaplain's once-a-year visitation to the churches.
In the 1980s the paid chaplain position was dissolved, and the committee was re-organized to consist of volunteer chaplains and a volunteer Executive Committee. A quarterly 'IS' newsletter was started to share fruitage (healings) and activities with the Oregon branch churches and societies.
Volunteer chaplains were scarce; for many months, there was only one working chaplain, sometimes two. Twice in the years from 1986 to 1988 an agenda item appeared: "Should this committee be disbanded?" Much metaphysical work was done. Each time the question arose, the parable of the "one lost sheep" was an important consideration, and each time disbanding was ruled out.
In 1990, the prayerful work toward opening the field really began to take hold. Many new volunteers came forward, and many new institutions were being served. One very diligent volunteer was able to make the first trip into a youth facility whose doors had been firmly shut to this committee before.
In 2015 the ByLaws were updated to allow for three Executive Committee members instead of five. We actively participate in as many facilities as we have volunteers to serve.
As of 2017, the facility chaplain in the state institutions welcome subscriptions to the Christian Science Monitor and Christian Science Sentinel. Our volunteers are welcome wherever they serve.
Returning to my unit from the dining hall, I noticed some copies of the Christian ScienceJournal and Sentinel on a bookshelf at the entrance to the unit.
Christian Science is no longer the religious class I go to, but the only way I know to live my life. I now experience tranquility, am no longer afraid, and some serious health problems have disappeared. I appreciate the dedication of the volunteers and the Quarterlies given to us." - An inmate
change of thought from volunteering TBD
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