« PreviousContinue »
may be secured from Sunday to Sunday. One answers: “I have a class during Lent for boys and girls of 12 years and over in preparation for church membership. For the rest of the year the pastor serves as a substitute teacher, thus keeping acquainted with the scholars and their work and filling a great need in the graded system where any kind of a substitute will not do." (F97x).
One hundred thirty-three pastors report classes in preparation for church membership, mostly of the type just mentioned. One pastor says: “I try to teach each Intermediate class at the critical age so that if possible the definite appeal for the Christian life may be then presented.”
Some typical answers are:
“To prepare for church membership. The eighth grade course and the first year High School lead up to work in the pastor's class.” (F63x).
"I simply take small groups or individuals reported by the teacher into my study at this time and talk over the Christian life.” (F70x).
“For six weeks preceding the April communion. Its purpose is to set forth the essentials of the Christian life, the duties and privileges of church membership, and to call for personal decision.” (F87x).
“Several. Men — to give the Christian point of view and train for service. Women - a Lenten class to acquaint with modern thought and missions. Young people — to prepare for discipleship.” (F86x).
“Last year I had three types of classes: (1) for church membership; (2) for C. E. efficiency; (3) for personal workers.” (H520x).
14. What provision is there in your Sunday School for a systematic program of missionary education?
Two hundred eighty-eight schools report some such provision. In the case of eighty-seven of these it is by occasional talks and programs. One hundred thirty report regular talks and programs at intervals varying from four times a year to a period each Sunday. Thirty-three schools rely upon such instruction as is given either incidentally or directly in connection with the teaching of the lesson. Sixty-five schools provide for missionary education in form only of a regular system of missionary benevolence with such talks or other instruction as may be needed to explain the objects to which the school is giving. Thirty-seven schools have a missionary committee to which is entrusted the supervision of this side of their educational work; twenty-five have a missionary superintendent with the same function. Six rely upon other organizations such as Women's Missionary Societies, to see to it that the work of missions is presented from time to time.
In general there is much more definite provision for missionary education in graded-lesson schools than in those using the uniform lessons and in the larger schools as compared with the smaller. Some typical quotations:
“Twice a year specialized speakers addressed the school on missions. A $100 campaign is carried on yearly for our foreign missionaries. One
course, Fourth Senior, is devoted to mission study ("The Conquering Christ"). (D347x).
“The Women's Missionary Society is the bureau of missionary intelligence and occasionally presents the subject in Sunday School." (E 197x).
“We have a missionary superintendent who gives monthly talks to the whole school, working these out according to the schedule of societies put out by denominational headquarters, and who substitute with missionary lessons in class when teachers are absent.” (E177x).
“Our Sunday School is organized as a missionary society.” (E204z).
“About eight minutes each Sunday morning. Talk on some missionary topic." (E211y).
“The missionary education is not systematically arranged. There is a Foreign Missionary Cradle Roll, a Little Tourists' Club, and missionary study in the C. E.; but the gaps between these are large.” (F20x).
The director of religious instruction in conjunction with the pastor instructs the teachers, thus reaching the scholar through the teaching force.' (F26x).
“Special instructors appointed by the committee on religious education visit the classes and give special instruction.” (F46x).
"There are definite enterprises — city, home missions, foreign missions supported by departments of the school. Instruction is given in each department with the type of enterprise supported in view." (F63x).
“Definite regular instruction in regard to objects for which money is given. New this year: missionary exhibit, teaching missions in a concrete way. Small groups are taken to it each Sunday for the lesson period. It is hoped to make this a permanent feature, teaching different phases of work in this way.” (F67x).
“Very little. I am going to give some stereopticon talks this year. We frequently have speakers. Every missionary we can get we bring before the school.” (F413x).
One gets the impression from the reports as a whole that missionary education in most of our Sunday Schools is a relatively spasmodic affair and that it is not well co-ordinated with the rest of the church's program of religious education. There is an opportunity here for a general secretary of missionary education to render excellent service. Such a secretary should by all means, however, be one of the staff which is responsible for the work of the denomination in religious education. Missionary education should be viewed, not as an extra or as a bit of begging propaganda but as an integral part of the church's program for the education of its children in religion. Few churches have as yet succeeded in doing this.
15. What provision is there for children's worship, either in church or Sunday School?
One hundred sixty-two churches report no such provision. A few more state “The same as for the older people”; one pastor adding “They are not fools.” One hundred seventy-three cite the opening and closing exercises of the Sunday school as their provision for the worship of children; and 28 refer to the Christian Endeavor and other societies. Forty-three state that there is in the Sunday School program a special planned service of worship, in many cases graded for departments which meet separately.
Forty-seven churches have “Go-To-Church Bands." There is no indication in most of these that the church service is modified in any way to recognize the presence of the children or to give them a share in it of their own. Fifty-three churches report occasional services for children or occasional talks to them at the morning worship. Eightyfour have each week a children's sermon of about five minutes at some time before the sermon for adults. In many of these a record is kept of the children's attendance; and in about one half opportunity is given the children to leave before the sermon for adults should they desire. Some have a provision by which the children then go to their Sunday School class-rooms for study. Twenty-three report children's choirs which sing at certain of the regular services of the church. Eighteen report the maintenance of a Junior Church, with its separate service for children. Six pastors report that they have combined Sunday School and church in one morning service, with the success of which they are highly pleased.
It is impossible to give quotations describing these several plans. An excellent brief discussion of them may be found in Athearn's “The Church School,” pp. 127-137. It is clear that many pastors and churches are awake to the fundamental importance of the cultivation in children of habits of worship and church-going. It should be added that a certain number of respondents who seem quite as awake to the problem yet dissent from the idea of any special service for the worship of children. "We do not believe in the children's service," says H464x; "the church will come to rue it. We have the children in the church service with liberty to squirm.” A few quite rightly emphasize the value of the old-fashioned family pew -- and this whether they believe in children's sermons or not.
Some reports speak of the children's sermon as a "juvenile sermon - a phrase that seems of dubious value. Others call it a “sermonette" – which is almost funny.
THE EXPRESSION OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE 16. What provision is there for the expression of the religious life by the children in the way of social service, benevolence, and the like? Do you have a graded program for such expression? If so, please outline it.
The reports on this point are so full and varied as almost to defy classification and summary. A few superintendents said that they do not understand the question. But as a whole the answers reveal an unexpectedly large provision for benevolence and Christian deeds on the part of the children and youth of the Church. If these reports are at all representative our churches cannot be accused of relying too largely upon instruction to the neglect of habit and life in the religious education of their young. But it is also clear that this active side of their educational program has not yet been as well worked out as their systems of instruction, and that there is not yet as much correlation between the two as there can and should be. Many churches, however, are taking definite steps towards such correlation.
In general the reports divide themselves into four groups: (1) those from Sunday Schools which provide definitely for benevolence and social service, either on festival days or at fixed intervals, but without attempt to grade the type or object of activity; (2) those from churches which rely in the main upon other organizations than the Sunday School to provide channels for the expression of the religious life; (3) those from schools that do such work through a system of organized Sunday School classes without a central plan of gradation; (4) those from schools that seek to guide the benevolent and social activities of the pupils by a carefully planned and graded program.
A few quotations from class F may most concretely serve to indicate what is being done in these, being chosen because the problem is most difficult in large schools. There are like reports from others in graded lesson schools and a smaller number from uniform schools.
“All offerings are for benevolence. At Thanksgiving classes take particular families to supply with dinner and go with the dinner. At Christmas we have a giving Christmas instead of receiving, sometimes making the children of the City Missionary Society our guests.” (F10x).
“We have a society or club adapted to the boys and to the girls of varying ages. Our aim is to ally every boy and every girl, as far as we are able, with one or another of these societies. Through these there is given abundant opportunity for this expression. (F11x).
“Almost the whole of the Sunday School collections are available for missionary and benevolent gifts. In addition to this, which is carefully explained to the pupils as the various objects of benevolence come up from time to time according to a schedule, there are special collections taken at various times. The special Christmas collection may well be said to be graded — from children to the Childrens' Home, from older pupils to missions.” (F20x).
“We haye four Christian Endeavor Societies for the years six to twelve, twelve to sixteen, sixteen to twenty, and twenty on. Each society has its program fitted to its needs.” (F26x).
“Systematic instruction and giving in departments. Special objects in each department.” (F32x).
“Regular monthly offerings for our seven Congregational societies
and three more local objects. We are working at a graded series of social clubs, grouped according to age and sex, to be correlated with the Sunday School.” (F36x).
“We have several young people's organizations outside the school that do a fine benevolent work for city charities, missions at home and abroad, etc. No 'graded program” however.' (F40x).
“Social service and benevolence program is graded to fit comprehension of pupils and is divided for practical reasons into local, state, national, and foreign. The kindergarten and primary departments, for example, co-operate with the local Infant Welfare Society, older classes with United Charities, etc. This winter nine dependent families are provided for by classes and groups of classes. The school as a whole provides clothing, school books, and toys for children of a mining community church. The chief emphasis is put on social service in the classes for the third and fourth years of the High School department, and the first and second years of the College department.” (F63x).
“No graded program. Only spasmodic. Each class has duplex envelopes of church and makes weekly contribution as a class to church support and benevolences. The several organized classes do a lot along expressional lines.” (F66x).
“Forty per cent of the Sunday School's money is given for benevolence. Above the Primary department causes are presented and the decision made by the pupils. Each class after hearing the story of Dr. Hume's work in the Missionary Exhibit made some article or articles suited to their interests and abilities which is their contribution to a box for Dr. Hume. Clubs and organized Bible classes work for different organizations, families, or individuals.” (F67x).
Program in making. Teachers are being awakened to need and many have plans in operation suited to their particular classes." (F86x).
“No graded program. Chance for expression is given through the organized classes in the Sunday School and through Christmas Gift Service. Practically every intermediate and senior class is organized.” (F87x).
“For the expressional side of our classes in the middle teens and older we have organized a Sunday School Federation taking the place of the Y. P. S. C. E. Its unit of membership is not the individual but a Sunday School class with its teacher. It is working well and having a most interesting development.” (F92x).
ORGANIZATIONS OTHER THAN SUNDAY SCHOOL 17. What other organizations for children and young people are connected with your church? Give the membership of each.
Ninety-four churches report no such organizations. Four hundred and ninety-two churches report a total of 1,130. The average number reported for uniform schools is 1.2, for graded-lesson schools 2.5, and for part-graded schools 1.8. The average number for schools under 100 is 0.9, for schools of 100-200, 1.9, and for schools of over 200, 3.1.