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The Vicar of Conway and the…

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The Vicar of Conway and the Welsh Concordat. THE Vicar Conway (Rev. J. P. Lewis), who is. one of 'the managers for one: of the largest -schools ir4 Carnarvonshire, writes on. "The Welsh Cnr.cordat" as follows .in this month's "Pariah. Magazine :"— "Many people are asking "Whaj is this Con- cordial?" The Concordat is a proposal emanating from the Carnarvonshire County Council, iby which all the voluntary schools c,re to be brought into line with the Board or Coun- cil School-, -„he Church surrendering her hold on her owr. schools on condition that religious instruction shall be given in them according to the syllabus of some leading Pcard Schools and facilities provided for Church teaching to Church children: after school hours. Much as we should love to secure harmony in the promciticn of education, we object to this Carnarvonshire Concordat for many reasons, i. The object aimed at is hardly worth, the ,candle. The object is to bring Ae voluntary schools i: line win!i Beard or Council Schools. When we remember, however, the inefficiency of -secular in rural Board Schools, the inefficiency cf Economical management in Town Board Schools, and the .inefficiency of religious education in both Rural and Town Board Schools, we are not tempted1 Ito surrender our excellent schools in order that they may be brought into line with less satisfactory schools. 2. The friendly proposals are made by un- friendly«partisans. "The voice is the voice of Jacob, 'but the hands are the hands of Esau." Mr Llcyd (eorge, who proposes these amicable relations, says also that the Act is to be used 'as a missile to be sent a't the: 'head of the par- son.' So we may reasonably suspect that 'the friendly proposal' is one of his strategic moves 'to capture the enemy's artillery,' as he has put it, 'and t, turn his own guns against'.him.' 3. The friendly proposal is accompanied'by an unfriendly menace. If we do r.ot surrender weare threatened with the withdrawal of financial support, which would inevitably inflict a loss' on the teacher or children, or both. 4. The proposed Concordat does not guarantee the continuation of adequate religious instruc- tion in Church .Schools. liven supposing the proposers of the Concor- dat have- suddenly been converted to the princi- ple of religious education in day schools, or for peace sake- are willing to grant facilities, what guarantee can they give, that futLire County Councils will noll repudiate their proposals? It is jus; possible that, if we surrender our Church schools under the Concordat, we may live to see those very buildings lost to religious education which have been built specially and at great sacrifices for the purposes of religious ed ucatior., At 'any rate, we have every reason for sus- pecting that the promise of religious instruc- tion in Church schools will not long be ad- hered to. (a) 'Interdenominational jealousy will remain after the Concordat jus't the .same. And it is il1terdenomi lla'tional jealousy alone that ac- counts for the lamentable fact that the Noncon- formist bodies, whic'h have done so much for religious education in Sunday Schools, cannot ascree to give Bible teaching in Board schools. From Blue Book 1895 we gather the following facts with regard to Carnarvonshire Board schools. i i Where Bible teaching is given, 6 schools; where ,the .Bible is reacl with a few .comments, where the Bible teaching is tested or exam- ined, o; where no. Bible teaching is given, 40; where theiBible i not even rea- 10; total Board schools in the county ('Biue Book, 1895), 61. (b) North Wales Liberals .and Nonconform- ists met only recently at an united conference in Llandudno, 'and passed a .resolution In fa- I.lat vour cf secular education, or, in otner words, in favour of ,shutting out the Bible from all the (Elementary schools of the country. (c) The proposers of the Concordat are pledged to abolish "tesits." Mr Ltoya George I e- says'he intends to adopt a test as to what teach- ing is to be given regarding 'Oliver Cromwell, 'but apparently there is to be no test Of the teaching which, shall be given regarding oui Lord Jesus Christ. To abolish all religious tests is to maSe the religious teaching eiuier worthless, or at best uncertain. 5. The Concordat shuts out Church teaching for Church children from the school syllabus. If we allow our schools to become "Ccuncil schools," the Cowper-Temple clause will make it illegal to 'teach our own children even the Apostles' Creed durings,chool hours. The Con- cordat, thereore, proposes 'that facilities for denominational teaching shall be given before or after school hours, according to the Colonial plan! The Colonial plan may 'be excellent, and, if so, it .should be at once ad, -opted, by the County Council for their own provided schools. But where is the colony where Churchmen have built tlheir own schools and calmly agree to shut out Church teaching for Church children from the syllabus of those schools? We.should not like to insult Sonconformiss by offering them what this' Concordat offers us with regard1, to facilities for denominational teaching. What would be thought of us, if, with a show Of magnanimity, we offered Nonconformists facili- ties'for giving denominational teaching to their own children—in their own schools and after school hours? And yet this id exactly what is offered to us. In declining the Concordat, we decline no- thing, because nothing is offered to us. The responsibility for rejecting concordats sure.} rests with those who rejected in the House ot Commons the Concordat which proposed that Nonconformist ministers should have every fa- cility of attending Cburchschools to teach ■Nonconformist children, provided that the Church clergy had equal facilities to tegcn Church children in 'Board or provided schools. Nay, the Act cf 1902 is in itself a compromise and concordat. At any rate it is a measure by which the Nonconformists, lose nothing but gain m'anv advantages which they never had be- fore, while the Church loses, a great de,al and gains nothing but the barest instalment of jus- tice-2qual financial support for equal secular efficiency. If fhe children's education is now made to suffer, the responsibility will be on those Churchmen and Nonconformists who loy- ally wish to carrv out the Act until at .any rate constitutionally amended, but upon a .section •of oolitic'011s who publicly avow their intention ndtto carry out but to "walk rcend" the law of the land."

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