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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)

TITLE: Instruction in Religion, Morals, and Praying
By gene hudgens
10/29/07


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Sunday Schools

Instruction in Religion, Morals, and Praying

At answers.com we see definitions of Sunday school: A school generally affiliated with a church or synagogue. An institution for instruction in religion and morals.

“Sunday School” is a generic name for many different types of religious education addressed on Sundays by various Christian denominations. Its origin began when Hannah Ball, a native of England founded a school in 1769. We more commonly associate the works of Robert Raikes, editor of the Gloucester Journal, with the founding of Sunday Schools. He saw the need to reduce crime among the children of the slums.

It’s written that by 1831 Sunday Schools in Great Britain were ministering weekly to approximately 25 percent of the British population.

Roman Catholics and most Protestant churches operate Sunday schools. Catholics commonly refer to Sunday school as ’Catechism class’.

Every caring and responsible parent wants only the best for their children. By God’s nature we love our children and try hard to the best for them. It is, however, difficult to always accomplish this goal alone.

When most of us think of Sunday school, we think of a place where our children can learn about the Scriptures and learn more about the importance of praying. There is recorded evidence that specific instruction in the Scriptures was given to children on Sundays at Roxbury in 1669 and at Plymouth, Mass., in 1674. This is wonderful, but I feel that many parents were most likely informally involved in exposing their children to Sunday School like experiences since the beginning of the Old Testament…and certainly for at least 1,900 years.

It’s written that occasional efforts were made by charitable individuals to provide some education in religious matters and secular instruction to children of the poor in England during the 18th century. It’s probable that in 1780 (in Gloucester), Robert Raikes started the first education to be called ‘Sunday School’. Simple lessons in reading and spelling in preparation for reading the Bible and memorizing scripture passages and hymns was the curriculum.

This was the beginning of an important educational movement. By 1795 the Society for the Support and Encouragement of Sunday Schools had helped found more than l000 schools. In 1803 Robert Raikes founded the London Sunday School Union. In 1862 a general Sunday school convention was held in London for the purpose of initiating a program for extending the movement to the Continent. In 1889 the first World Sunday School Convention met in London. In 1907 its name was changed to the World’s Sunday School Association. In 1947 the name was again changed…to the World Council of Christian Education. The North American unit is named the International Council of Religious Education.

It wasn’t until 1786 that Francis Asbury, a Methodist preacher, founded a Sunday school in Hanover. Co., VA. that was patterned on Robert Raikes’ plan. In 1876 the American Sunday School Union was formed among several churches in Eastern America with a plan of rapidly establishing Sunday schools in pioneer communities of the Mississippi. This was a very successful project.

In the 1790s Sunday Schools first appeared in American cities. It was envisioned to provide basic literacy training to poor children and adults on their one free day (Sunday). In 1791, The First Day Society (a group of clerics and merchants) began this type school by paying local schoolmasters to teach needed people to read and write…using the Bible as the central text.

In 1832 a national convention of American Sunday school workers was held. At the American Sunday school convention of 1872 a plan of uniform lessons was adopted in cooperation with the British Sunday School Union. From that time the movement was international.

Today we enjoy preschool, children, and adult Sunday Schools. I’m very impressed with the Christian information found on the web. I’m especially impressed with “Sarah@ Sunday School Network.com” and “Sunday School Resources.com”.

It’s important to expose children to Sunday school activities at preschool age. It is imperative that parents are always fully aware of the quality of activities children are exposed to…even in Sunday schools.

It is far more important to expose all children “from babies” to a sincere Christian environment in the home. Psychological studies have shown that individuals model attitudes and actions based on what they observe. Babies will remember lullabies sang to them, stories told to them, and kisses given to them.

God smiles when He sees parents adequately teaching children to love His Son Jesus Christ.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/03/07
Thank you for this very informative article!

As a rule of thumb, avoid starting any article with a definition. You want something that will really "hook" your readers--something active, fascinating, and creative.

You've obviously done a lot of research into this, and it is greatly appreciated.
Debbie Howard11/04/07
Great research.
Therese Witkus11/05/07
Well written and informative article. The points are well taken. Interesting.
Allison Egley 11/05/07
Lots of good information here.

I would have tried to "hook" your readers by starting with a story. Maybe just telling the first part, and then ending with the rest of the story.

Again, there's some great information here. You obviously put some work into this.