Spiritual healing of disease is a central focus of the Church of Christ, Scientist. This is valued both for its own sake as well as its evidence of redemption from the flesh. Most members refuse medical help for disease. This is the church's most controversial practice. However, Christian Science generally teaches cooperation with local laws, such as in getting vaccinations, reporting communicable diseases, etc., and leave the decision to seek physical treatments up to each individual. "Healthcare decisions are always a matter of individual choice." ("About Christian Science." Official Website of the Mother Church)
There is no ordained clergy in Christian Science. Members engaged in the full-time healing ministry are called Christian Science practitioners and services are conducted by elected Readers. Practitioners treat church members through prayer, and members are encouraged to pray as well.
The Mother Church is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of six members who choose their own successors. Each branch is self-governed and democratic. The Manual of The Mother Church that governs the movement has remained virtually unchanged since Mary Baker Eddy's death.
Readers lead Sunday services based on readings from the Bible and mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. These are based on Lesson-Sermons developed by the Mother Church, which are also used in daily private study.
Christian Scientists do not practice the sacraments of baptism or the Eucharist; these are affirmed but understood in spiritual terms. "Our baptism is purification from all error... Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, 'which cometh down from heaven,' is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught the Master drank and commended to his followers" (Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy, 35).