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Revs. A. Foyster, W. Knight, H. H. Cullis, A. Frost, and C. Clemance officiated on the occasion.
Rev. W. DUNK was welcomed on his settlement at Goring, Berks, November 8th. Revs. Messrs. Pingree, Evershed, Carr, Curry, and others addressed the meeting.
Rev. W. H. WHITBREAD was ordained at Wingham, October 31st. Revs. A. Turner, H. Cresswell, A. Mearns, T. Blandford, &c., severally engaged in the service.
The ordination of the Rev. W. W. STEPHENSON, late of Lancashire College, the newly-appointed missionary to Nundial, South India, took place at Rusholme-road Chapel, Manchester, on November 7th. The Rev. Alexander Thomson M.A., presided. Rev. W. G. Mawbey, of Cuddapah, described the field of service. Rev. H. Oliver, B.A., offered the ordination prayer. Professor Scott, LL.B., of Lancashire College, delivered the charge.
The Welsh Congregational church at Rhos was re-oponed after extensive alterations and repairs on Sunday, Oct. 15th, when sermons were preached by the Rev. 8. Evans, of Llandle, and the Rev. D. Roberts, of Wrexham.
STOCKWELL-GREEN Chapel, after being repaired and renovated at a cost of £700, was re-opened Oct. 20th, by a sermon from the Rev. Paxton Hood. On tbe following Sunday sermons were preached by the pastor, the Rev. J. B. Heard M.A., and the Rev. A. Mursell.
The foundation-stone of the first of the series of memorial churches to be erected in Leeds, according to the church extension scheme, to which over £100,000 has been subscribed, was laid on Oct. 28th, by W. Beckett Denison, Esq.
The centenary of the first Chapel and thejubilee of the present Tabernacle, Chippenham, were held on the 12th and 13th of November. The Rev. E. S. Bayliffe, B.A., preached on the Sabbath, and Revs. J. M. Rees, the newly-elected pastor, H. T. Brumwell, &c., took part in the service.
NEW CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, &c.
A new church was formed Oct. 26th, at Humberston-road, Leicester, in con. nection with a mission which has been carried on for three years by the church at London-road, Gloucester.
THREE memorial windows to the
memory of the late Alfred Rooker
Esq., were placed in the Congregational Church at Tavistock, Oct. 12. These windows and the portrait in the Townhall have been subscribed for by all classes and sects in the town.
The new church at Greenfield, Man. ningham, was opened by sermons from the Revs. E. Herber Evans, Dr. Pulsford, and J. G. Rogers, B.A.
DEATHS. Rev. F. J. HOYTE, of Atherstone, died Oct. 15th, in the eighteenth year of his ministerial service.
Rev. Thomas Rees, for twenty. three years minister of the Congregational Church, Reigate, and for ten years resident secretary of Mill-hill School, died at Lewisham, October 17th, aged seventy.
Rev. JONATHAN HARPER, of AI. ston, Cumberland, died November 8th, 1876, in the eighty-ninth year of his age.
THB MANAGERS acknowledge with thanks the following additional Sacramental Col. lections in aid of the Widows' FUND :-Wilmslow, by Mr. T. Crewdson, £6 93. 7d. ; Ossett, by Mr. W. Saberton, £2 ; Whittlesea, £1 13s. 4d, ; Gt. Eversden, by Rev. G. Burgoyne, £1 5s.
N this, my third annual report, I must give the greatest prominence to 1 school examinations. These are fast becoming the only possible work for me, so great a demand do they make upon my time and strength. Four causes have operated to bring about a marvellous extension of elementary education, and they are these :
1. The settlement of several of our missionaries in outlying parts of Imerina.
2. The re-organisation of the methods of assisting schools, and the very much increased grant made by the Society for this purpose.
3. The settlement by the Palace Church of evangelists and teachers, trained by us, at the chief centres of population and political influence.
4. The hearty co-operation of the Government, with its determination that parents shall send their children to school wherever the means of instruction are provided.
The parent-like supervision of myself and Mr. LORD may perhaps also be fairly regarded as a subsidiary cause. The Lord of the harvest has been at work in all these causes ; He is behind and in them all, as the spring and source of all good.
One of the conditions of the help which our Society affords to the elementary schools of the country is that they be subject to examination by a missionary or missionaries twice a year. Now, as the four causes mentioned above have brought about a large increase in the number of real schools, and so of those needing help, and as that help is dependent upon examination, it follows that examination work has increased very largely, too; so much so, indeed, that, as you will see by the examination returns accompanying this, out of the 238 different schools examined by
me last year, only thirty were examined a second time during the year. In future I shall only be prepared to examine these schools once in the year, and the second examination required by our bye-laws may well be conducted by the district missionaries in their several districts.
It is now required from us, as a matter of courtesy, and perhaps also of right, that in arranging for examinations, we not only make the churches concerned parties to the arrangement, but also the evangelists supported by the Palace Church.
TABLE OF STATISTICS. I have prepared a summary for each of the ten districts in which examinations have been conducted. The number of schools examined falls far short of the absolute number, except, perhaps, in the Amparibe, Faravohitra, Andohalo, and Ambohimanga districts. As an instance of this, I may mention that in the Analakely district there are fully twenty more schools, more or less worthy of the name, which are scantily helped by the mother-church. To go to the west for another instance: after I left Mr. Pickersgill, at the conclusion of our joint tour of school examination, he proceeded to the west and examined eighteen more schools. It is quite true that many of these schools, as yet, have scarcely passed beyond the first stage, viz., that of getting written the names of those who should be scholars. As yet many of them are schools in posse rather than in esse ; but schools of the former class have, during the past three years, so rapidly merged into the latter, that it will be neither right nor safe to leave them out of account. You will notice that in some districts, especially in the newer ones (e.g., Fihaonana, Ambohibeloma), there is a great preponderance in the number of scholars over the number present at the examinations. The cause is this : by Government influence the names of the children who should be at school are written down, and this number is considered to be the number of scholars; while the number present at the examinations probably represents pretty fairly the actual number under instruction. The greater or less proportion of the number of slates and Testaments bought to the number of scholars present will be found to be a good index to the advanced state of the schools or otherwise. The slate and the little Testament are the two great weapons of warfare against the thick darkness of ignorance in which so much of this country is enveloped. They, together with the primer, the lesson sheets, and the little catechism, are for most of our schools the only apparatus and materials. Hence you will understand why I have thought those numbers of sufficient importance to appear in my report.
On comparing the results obtained in reading, writing, and arithmetic, with those reported last year, I find great ground for encouragement. The percentages of passes are equal to those of last year, and that notwithstanding several important differences in the schools examined. Those examined in 1874 were chiefly in the longer-established districts, and many of the best of them were examined twice; those examined in 1875 were many of them in new districts, and were examined only once. warrantable conclusion is that, in districts where schools have been for some time established, there is a decided growth in the attainments of the scholars; and that in new districts already much has been done. The averages for the different districts will point to the same conclusion.
In the little catechism of Scripture facts and teachings, 22 of the 228 schools examined did well, 73 did fairly, and 50 did a little ; the remainder were ignorant.
EDUCATION-ITS PLACE IN THE Mission. I think it is just possible that some of our friends in England will think these particulars of small moment to the interests and success of the London Missionary Society's mission in Madagascar. They will say, perhaps, “ Your mission work in Madagascar is degenerating into mere educational or school instruction work." I should not be careful about an answer to such. Most of the adults in the country are still so ignorant of the facts of the Christian religion that a great deal of the preaching they hear on the Sunday is unintelligible to them. I have heard several of our missionaries complain of the difficulty they have in getting the people to take an intelligent hold upon the truth as they teach and preach it. There often is apparently the greatest attention on the part of the audience, when little remains with them, as the result of the discourse, but a sense of wonderment and of having heard a great many new things soon to be forgotten But in our schools the young are being taught to read God's Word, to learn the catechism, to write, and, in learning arithmetic and other things, to think ; and when they meet in the place of worship on the Sunday, the preacher has in them a more intelligent, even if a rather less attentive, audience. When the children now under instruction in our schools grow up, shall we not know something of what many are now longing for-an outpouring of God's Spirit upon the work which He has caused His servants to do? This school-work will surely be the foundation of the prosperity of the Malagasy Church in days to come. Viewed in the "payment by result” light, there is no branch of mission work so eminently successful. Especially is it successful in calling forth the zeal and money of the native churches. From careful inquiries I have made in several districts, I know
that the sum spent directly by our Society in assisting elementary educacation is less than one-fourth of the total cost of the schools Three-fourths are contributed by the churches, spurred on by the personal work and efforts of the missionaries, the prospect of pecuniary help from the London Missionary Society, and in very many instances by, what to many will seem a less worthy motive, a desire to stand well with the Government. And yet, notwithstanding that we pay so small a share of the cost, as far as the kind of teaching given is concerned we have supreme influence influence which we will use, not for thespread of Anglicanism or sectarianism, but, as we believe, for the growth of the people in knowledge of the Word of God, and in Christian morality.
Having shown you how examination work has run away with my time, you will be prepared to hear that my direct teaching has been less than formerly. I still do what I can in visiting and superintending the five Congregational schools of the city which lie in my district, in teaching the Palace School on the Wednesday, in teaching the sol-fa notation of music on Thursday afternoon, in my three drawing-classes on Friday, and in my fortnightly class at Ambatofotsy on the Tuesday; but these, to my great sorrow, are being constantly thrust aside by demands for examinations in the country.
From the time Mr. Pearse left the Analakely district, in addition to my normal work of school superintendence and examination, I have had to administer the Society's grant to the district, and to attend to the whole school business of the district. Now and again Mr. Moss has assisted me in this to the extent of his power. Miss Cameron also has maintained her connection with Ambatofotsy, and Mrs. Moss has done what she could for the girls in the Analakely (City) School. Had I time I would like to write a report on our Analakely School, with its now 220 scholars, but I must leave it.
For the Imarovatana district I have been trying to do what I have done for that of Analakely, in order that it might suffer as little as possible from Mr. Baron's absence. I go regularly to Ambohidratrimo once a month, meet with the teachers of the district, examine their school registers, try to smooth away difficulties for them, pay them the London Missionary Society's help, and supply them from time to time with such books as they need in teaching. The examinations take place with as great regularity as possible. Here I take occasion to acknowledge Mr. Pickersgill's help in conducting examinations in Mr. Baron's district.