Church re­lo­cates read­ing room

Li­brary moves across Main Street

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ches­pub.com

Those search­ing for the new lo­ca­tion of the Chris­tian Sci­ence Read­ing on Main Street won’t have to look too hard — it’s di­rectly across the street from its old spot.

Su­san Amert called the ac­qui­si­tion of the choice lo­ca­tion at 65 E. Main St. – for­merly home to a bar­ber shop – divine in­ter­ven­tion.

“We didn’t think we’d have a chance to get it,” Amert said. “We were about fourth in line. We were pray­ing and pray­ing.”

Chris­tian Sci­ence be­lieves in the power of prayer.

“Every­one in front of us dropped out,” Amert said. In days the board had to gather again and agree to be­come the new ten­ants at 65 E. Main St.

“We did not know the cost (of ren­o­va­tions) or how much was the rent,” she said. “We said, ‘Yes’ in faith.”

The group’s lo­cal mem­bers be­gan to look for a new lo­ca­tion last sum­mer when the store­front it rented at 92 E. Main St. was pur­chased and the new rental agree­ment was more than the group was ex­pect­ing. The prop­erty is slated for re­de­vel­op­ment.

“We had been there around 15 years and in all that time our rent had not gone up,” Amert said.

Sud­denly, they be­came aware that the bar­ber shop had been va­cated.

“The build­ing be­longs to the In­ter­na­tional Or­der of Odd Fel­lows,” she ex­plained, adding that Ne­wark Cam­era op­er­ates next door and the IOOF Lodge is on the sec­ond floor. “It’s a his­toric build­ing.”

And so, Amert said, the group be­gan the ef­fort to get the space trans­formed from a bar­ber shop to a read­ing room.

While the new lo­ca­tion is not much dif­fer­ent in size, its shape leads to bet­ter flow and func­tion of the space. In the well-lit room are shelves full of books — both for pur­chase and to read in house — plus mag­a­zines, CDs, hym­nals and lessons on CD.

“We have lots of ref­er­ence ma­te­ri­als for the study of the bible,” she said.

Also on the shelves are books about Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the de­nom­i­na­tion and their sec­ondary text called “Sci­ence and Health.”

The big­gest change in the new lo­ca­tion is the ad­di­tion of tech­nol­ogy. Chris­tian Sci­ence pe­ri­od­i­cals, which were bound edi­tions piled on shelves at the old read­ing room, are now on a com­puter and can be cross-ref­er­enced in search of spe­cific au­thors, ti­tles or top­ics.

“All those bound edi­tions have been moved to the church,” Amert noted. First Church of Christ, Sci­en­tist is at 45 W. Park Place.

The Chris­tian Sci­ence Read­ing Room is in­cred­i­bly quiet and re­laxed. While the never-end­ing ve­hi­cle and pedes­trian traf­fic can be seen from the front win­dow, it’s barely heard.

“We wanted to be where we could be avail­able,” she said, not­ing that in­cludes be­ing avail­able to Univer­sity of Delaware stu­dents. “We are open to peo­ple of all de­nom­i­na­tions, peo­ple with faith in God and with­out.”

That vis­i­ble lo­ca­tion brings in the cu­ri­ous and those with spe­cific needs, she said. Vol­un­teers in the read­ing room help where pos­si­ble and also di­rect folks to other com­mu­nity re­sources, in­clud­ing their neigh­bors at Ne­wark United Methodist Church.

“Our em­pha­sis is on the spir­i­tual,” she said. “We are spir­i­tual first re­spon­ders.”

The Chris­tian Sci­ence Read­ing Room is open Tues­day through Fri­day from noon un­til 5 p.m. and from noon un­til 4 p.m. Satur­day. Call 302-456-1428 for more in­for­ma­tion.

While there is a lot of hus­tle and bus­tle on East Main Street in Ne­wark, in­side the Chris­tian Sci­ence Read­ing Room it’s quiet, mak­ing it a good place for study and re­flec­tion.

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY JANE BELLMYER

Su­san Amert is ex­cited about the new lo­ca­tion of the Chris­tian Sci­ence Read­ing Room, now at 65 E. Main St. It op­er­ates the same as the prior read­ing room across the street did, of­fer­ing a quiet place to read, med­i­tate, study and pray.

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