Tenacre’s mission statement, “to cherish and demonstrate the truths of Christian Science and to apply these truths to every aspect of living and working together,” is the umbrella for the ministries described elsewhere in this website. They include Christian Science Nursing Department, the Tenacre School of Christian Science Nursing, Christian Scientists-in-Residence, Tenacre Visitor Accommodations, and the Spiritual Resource Library.
As a reporter for the Princeton Packet wrote of Tenacre in 1999:
“Well known to the worldwide members of the Christian Science Church, it is regarded as a place for spiritual renewal, reflection and growth. The work that Tenacre does, and the services it provides, is centered around the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy as stated in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Christian Scientists regard this book, along with the Bible, as the [Pastor] of their church. Tenacre strives to support those individuals who are facing challenges in their lives, choosing to work through them using the prayer-based practice of Christian Science. According to the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (ChristianScience.com) in Boston, Massachusetts, “Christian Science is based on the words and works of Christ Jesus, and draws its authority from the Bible. The foundation of Christian Science is the Bible, including the teaching and examples of Jesus. The word science is used in the name and the practice of this religion because Christian Scientists believe in the systematic application of rules based on a fixed principle.”
Tenacre’s Early History
Today Tenacre’s property consists of 35 buildings of various sizes on approximately 70 acres, but when it began, it was just 10 acres. In the 1800’s, the Tenacre Poultry Farm was part of a farming community known as Cedar Grove.
George and Kathryn Barmore, Christian Scientists from New York, moved to Tenacre in 1912, a year after their marriage. They enlarged the house and transformed the grounds into a charming setting of flower gardens, pathways, ponds, and tennis court.
They became founding members of the Princeton Christian Science Society in 1917. Mrs. Barmore opened an office in Princeton as a Christian Science practitioner. After running the poultry farm for a few years, Mr. Barmore also became a Christian Science practitioner. In connection with their practice, patients and friends often visited. At their urging, the Barmores started a rest home for Christian Scientists in 1922, with accommodations for three paying guests. By 1928, Tenacre was incorporated, had a staff of Christian Science nurses, and was caring for about 20 guests, all of whom were relying on God for healing, as taught in Christian Science.
To help ensure that Tenacre would continue beyond their personal involvement, the Barmores changed the corporation to a not-for-profit in 1935 and called it Tenacre Foundation.
In 1938, the Barmores left Tenacre in the hands of a new board and moved to Maine where they had often spent their summers. They continued to serve as Christian Science practitioners. The new Board of Trustees was headed by Howard G. Bleakly, CSB, who asked one of his students in Christian Science, J. Burwell Harrison, if he would volunteer his management talent. Mr. Harrison agreed and, in 1939, began commuting between his hotel business in East Orange, NJ and Tenacre. They faced financial challenges, but prayed and moved forward, building strong relationships with the state agencies and finding balance between needs and supply, even starting a benevolence fund. They were grateful for every evidence of supply and called it ‘expected good from unexpected sources.’
During World War II, although eligible for a waiver, Mr. Harrison served in the U.S. Army from 1943-45. Mrs. Harrison was interim manager until his return.
Mr. and Mrs. Harrison often spoke of those early years and the feeling of being led every step of the way. They retired in 1989 after 50 years of dedicated service.
As a community, we continue to pray and let God’s governing guide our ministry.