Page images
PDF
EPUB

valuable magazine for all Sunday School workers and religious teachers of the denomination. It has also found a place among religious educators in other denominations. A vast number of calls have come for educational leaflets and books, which have been very widely distributed.

Through the Educational Department the Society has been brought into very close co-operation with the Sunday School and Publishing Societies of other denominations. Through the Sunday School Council of Evangelical Denominations there has been brought about a close co-operation of the Sunday School forces with the International Sunday School Association, which gives much promise for the future. In all these movements Dr. Winchester occupied a prominent place, and rendered a helpful service.

The entire field force has been given an educational uplift. The appointment of Rev. J. P. O'Brien, D.D., and Rev. Miles B. Fisher as Educational Secretaries for the Southwest and South and for the Pacific Coast has proved so satisfactory that District Superintendents, Rev. R. W. Gammon, D.D., and Rev. Milton S. Littlefield, D.D., have been designated Educational Secretaries for the Interior and for the East.

Miss Margaret Slattery also continues her wide and useful service.

All the field superintendents are deeply interested in and devote much time and effort to educational improvement. The plan of District Educational Secretaries places help within the reach of each field worker, thereby helping to meet the large opportunities which come in connection with state and district institutes and conferences. As the educational element has entered largely into all the extension work of the Society it has bound the field force close to the Educational and Editorial Departments, upon which it so largely depends for ideals and material. The Educational Secretaries and Field Superintendents are a united force for the extension and improvement of the Sunday School work of the denomination. On the frontier, as well as in the oldest parts, the very best educational methods are demanded and opportunities furnished for their exercise.

THE EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT

Through its lesson material, weekly papers, teachers' helps and books bearing upon teacher training, the Editorial Department is trying to provide the literature which churches are demanding in their work of religious education. There is no question that our denomination wants the best material, methods and equipment in this work. The churches are not so much concerned with the technical and theoretical, although both have their place in the work of religious education, but they do want real help in leading their young people to think clearly and truly about God and Christ, the Bible and the Church, and their relation to them, as well as their responsibility as Christians in the home, the community, the church and the world. This task the Sunday School Society considers most important.

It is this purpose which governs the output of its educational material. In accordance with this purpose it has now published a completely graded course of lessons from the Beginners' Department through the third year Senior. Sixteen of the seventeen available courses are now ready for use.

The outline of the fourth year Senior has been approved by the International Lesson Committee, and it is hoped this will be ready for use in October, 1916. The large circulation of these lessons shows the desire of our people for graded material.

While meeting the demand for the graded lessons, the Editorial Department has at the same time tried to provide adequately for such schools as have not yet felt justified in introducing the new form of lessons. Confronted with the necessity of providing for both large and small schools, the Department has furnished material for the teaching of the graded lessons and has spared no pains to keep its uniform lessons up to the, highest standard of excellence. Miss Slattery's work on the new Home Department Magazine and the departments conducted by Dr. Ernest Bourner Allen and Dr. Henry A. Atkinson in the Adult Bible Class Magazine have materially strengthened our uniform series. In place of the Pilgrim Visitor, we now have two papers, Boyland and Firelight, the former for boys of the Junior age, nine to twelve, and the latter for girls of the same age. The publication of these two papers is a forward step in our efforts to meet the needs of the boy and girl at each stage of their development. The Mayflower for little people and the Wellspring for young people thirteen or fourteen to eighteen years of age, maintain a large and helpful place among our schools. The Pilgrim Teacher ranks as one of the best educational magazines that is published by any denomination today. It aims to bring to teachers, superintendents, pastors and parents the freshest and most practical information regarding the Sunday School and its allied agencies, and the best help in the study of both graded and uniform lessons. It emphasizes the personal aspect of teaching, the importance of intimate acquaintance with childhood, the mastery of Biblical material of study, and the expert use of effective methods of teaching. Especially in this time of readjustment in the Sunday School world, the Pilgrim Teacher tries to bring to its constituency helpful suggestions regarding courses of study, methods of organization and of Biblical interpretation. Both the large and the small schools, those using the graded and those who find the uniform lessons more feasible, are included in the scope of its departments. Among its contributors are the most experienced teachers and workers in the Sunday School world today. A splendid series of educational books has been issued during the last two years, and others are in process of publication.

Since the last meeting of the Council, Dr. B. S. Winchester has retired from the editorship and head of this department after nearly six years of influential service. To him must be given large credit for the high standard of our publications.

1

THE CONGREGATIONALIST AND CHRISTIAN WORLD

DEPARTMENT The two years since the Society gave to the National Council account of its stewardship of the Congregationalist and Christian World have been marked by steady and painstaking effort on the part of editors, publisher and all

[ocr errors]

concerned with the making of the paper to maintain and enhance its prestige and influence. It has sought to fulfill its distinct and important function as the medium through which able men and women on both sides of the Atlantic, whose pens are consecrated to the highest ideals, may bring the stimulus of their thought on Christian themes to thousands of homes. It has striven no less earnestly week by week to bring to the 6,000 Congregational churches over the land the sense of their fellowship one with another, to aid them in their service of worship, their prayer and conference meetings, their work in the Sunday School and for the community, and their common evangelistic and missionary activities. A third aim has been to make the paper a true organ and leader of Christian opinion, and particularly the thought and feeling of our Congregational churches, to the end that through frank and friendly exchange of views the work of the denomination might be more intelligently and effectively prosecuted. The paper has also perpetuated the names and influence of such Congregational leaders in the ministry and laymen as Silvester Horne, Albert J. Lyman, George F. S. Savage, Samuel B. Capen and E. W. Blatchford, through carefully prepared estimates and appreciations of them, and of many others who during these two years have passed into the other world.

That the paper is read and prized by the best and most useful men and women in our churches the country over has been again made evident in numerous ways, while the good-will and appreciation shown are a constant stimulus to produce a paper still more worthy of the denomination whose name it bears. Next year will be the centennial year of The Congregationalist. It will then have had a continuous life, though under different names, for one hundred years, and through all that time has been a power in the religious life of America. Like every other distinctively religious agency, The Congregationalist must have in the future as it has had in the past the loyal support of its normal constituency. In confident expectation of such support the paper faces its new century more eager and determined than ever to fulfill its mission.

BUSINESS DEPARTMENT

A summary of our business operations in the manufacturing, publication and selling departments during the past two years differs but little from that of the preceding period reported at the Fifteenth Triennial session of the National Council, at Kansas City. The volume of sales has exceeded a million dollars and a net profit of over forty-six thousand dollars is recorded. As the larger part of these transactions were directly with our Congregational Churches and Sunday Schools, it has seemed a reasonable aim on the part of the Board of Directors of the Society to perform as nearly co-operative a service as possible, rendering such service to our churches and Sunday Schools at as near the actual cost as prudent management would permit, turning back into the enterprise incidental profits by improving the number and quality of the publications issued, by decreasing their cost to the churches and schools, by preparing for larger and more useful service, and by cash appropriations to the educational and extension work. An illustration of the above principle may be noted in the very decided reduction made in the prices of the International Series of Graded Sunday School Lessons, thus aiding the schools using them to the extent of over $12,000 annually. This lowering of prices, made voluntarily, is responsible for a reduction in the business profits declared. The high standard of various other publications, such as the Pilgrim Teacher and The Congregationalist and Christian World, has been maintained although published without expectation of profit. Many improvements in the mechanical make up of these and other indispensable aids to our church and Sunday School workers have been made, and in every respect it is believed the Society's publications are easily in the first rank. Although a reduction in the sales and circulation of the more popular series of aids used in our Sunday Schools, for years the chief source of our profit, has been occasioned by the substitution in many schools of the more closely graded lessons, no advance in prices has been made by the Society as would be entirely logical and has been found necessary by other con

« PreviousContinue »