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HELSGIOUS ASPECTS OF DISESTABLISHMENT…

SUPPLEMENTARY SUNDAY SCHOOL…

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SUPPLEMENTARY SUNDAY SCHOOL WORK. MR W. C. BRIDGEMAN, M.P., OPENS THE DISCUSSION. In opemingthe a tennoon discussion oil "What steps should be taken to supplement the work of the Sunday W. C. BRIDGEMAN, M.P-, said he was not sure whether that duty- had been, put on him because the exposure of 111Ís ignorance would be a flTatitâyng occupation for future speakers-— (laughter),—or because. tho Bishop tliCRight his (the S'pOciivGir t?) remarka were usually so highly controversial as to be' suae to draw lire from some quarter (renewed: laughter). A few years ago he would have hesitated in obeying the Bishop's ordero, as he' then entertained the old fashioned view that people should only speak on subjects with winch they were conversant—(laughter),— but some experience in :hcariiig-, reading: and making speeches had convinced, him that: the J'atrhiontf had cluiiiiged, and. that many: speakers, now found that the less they knew ot a swbjootthe more fitting and the easier it was to speak on it, and1 that if they waited until they understood their subject they were often debarred by knowledge from ventilating- the pet views which bli.-sfuj 'ignorance allowed them to holdi. At any rate he willingly but hanioiy earried- out the or<for to.step- first inito- the breach, and hoped that subsequent speak- crs would enter the citadbl over the main^led remains of his .observations (laughter)- ° Unhkei the subject of the morning opinion was not divided on the merits of Sunday school On the contrairy^there was a most monotonous una- nimity on the question, and it seemed an al- most hopeleeis task to seok for further treasure in a miao which the collective wisdom and in- genuity at many generations of most Christian communities had been exploiting for ro long though it was a strange fact in Church hmteiy that the value of Sunday Schools was Éo tar- dily realised- But perhaps for members o-c the Ghurcnof England the Sunday school presents an additional interest at a time when they were being threatened with the less "ol their mght to give denominational teaching as a part of the daily school curriculum to child- ren of their own fiaith. For if.-that threat was earned out they must perforce turn their whole energy to the problem'of widening the scope o.f religious teaching of children, and even if it was not there was mu:ch: rOOoJ11 improvement in their Sunday Schools. THE FIRST AND LAST AIM of a Sunday School seemed to bo the provision, of an easy and- gradual aind unoroken path to cdnihinnatnon., and consteouently the Church Catechism muist play a most, important: part. But there would always be ..a difference of cprnion on t(ho ;<iuestipn of the amount of time that shoulbd be,.given to dry doctrinal lessons, and how far story telling, .and free 'illustration' were admissible- My own experience, added the speaker,, is. small and antiquated1, but con- ,siste of the two extremes. In Sunday" ochood tJhe telling .or reading of etoriee waR forbiddeii, and in the ot heir a. read story form- ed the ground; work oi the teaching-- (X tibe two extremes I confess. I lean. towards the lat;, ter;, especiajllly for young, children, and if reli- gious teaehing is to be confined to Sund!ays: r think it is most important that children should not feel the weight of religious observance to be so severe that they look forward to the t-iiiie wbiCIn they wii; beåble to throw all or some parts of it off (hear, hear). I think no child really likes learning the Catechism. V I should mistrust one who said he did'. I am therefore an advocate of isrrtall doses, accompanied by sweet en rnig ingredients and1 if oossiblo 'more fre- quently adimimstered t'han at pretsent- But (11- though I feel that it might be spread more evenly over the whole career of the child from 8 to 16 I think it ought always to be kept, in view as the bed rock of Sunday School les- sons- And this brings me to my' first sugges- tion that children should be kept at Sunday Schools till the àge of confirmation, so that they may be receiving mibre: advanced tEach- ing in the Catechism at an age when. they are- more able to und'er'staJid it. My second stig- gestion is a PRESCRIPTION FOR SWEETENING THE DOSE, ;j that, anethodts of kindergarten for infants find picture teaching and object lessons for other children ■ so largely adopted in day schooJa, should be utilised in (Sunday Schools as well I believe the National Society are now turning their attention to this point, and I hepe to see good selections of roller }>icture sets for Bible teadhing. and,1 Church -history largely- resorted to. This plan is most, hetf'pfuL to Jnexperienaed teachers in securing attention, and they tiius frnd truth in the that "he who hath two eyes hath four e,ars," My next isugseption is, and it sounds Irish, that: Sunday School} should not be limited to Sundays, but that you should have Sunday Schools on week days as we'll- Call t,hen1 by what name you will, I ad- vocate this, firstly, because the cilero-y are seriously overtaxed1 on Sundays, seconcfly, be- caujse children invst 'not be overpowered excaseiye religious. observances on any and thirdly, becaiise it is most essential to: connect our' religion with, our every- day life, and to dispel the'idea, that- Sunday is th0 oiily day- when we need think Of it- The leeison, might be prepared on'-an evening in "the'week aiiidl 'te-sted at a children's sefrviCe on Sunday- I believe something -of the kind 'has' been started, called .the "Gtiild of 'the 'Holy Child, which I only know by report. Perhaps bthe're here hayehad some 'experience of it, but it sounds to me on the right lines, and well -suit- ed for towns and large villa^e^ The children the age of eifht, and1 leave it after confirmation. 1 THE ESSENTIAL THING- Contiuiiiing, the hon-- member said I have only one other sugge-A ion to make, atid that is that the clergy might uSBfuJly, multlply the nuimber of lay teachers to the generai advan- tage of themselves, the teachers, and the taught- I shall, of counsel, be told that it is most difficult to find any who competent to do it. Iadmnt the difficulty, but assert that it oan and ought to be overcome. The 11" tial thing is not deep theological knowledge, but a firm faith in the fundamental blessings of Christianity. If an ideal Sunday School is a place where souls are to be sought your ol- eOf teachers should rest oil those who know how to r>eek them, and where they a.re likely to have strayed—men and women-and who have a of their own- If you can find men and women with their heart m the right place, and you certainly can. you may mu?t them to betgin with, and educate their head1 as you go on- They will be ready to leaiii, if they aire ready to teach, and a clergyman's time spent in teaching his teachers is as well spent as any off his week. One of the greatest weaknesses of our Church is that so little is given to laymen to do, and, I be- lieve, tha.t it would not be impossible even in ruiral districts to find men and women who would hold pfepa-ration classes on some even- ing in the week—in any part of a loarish where half a dozen children oould be collected'—each giving- the same lesson firom a syllabus pre- pared by rector, and if possible developed and enlarged upon by him at a class for the teachers and made the subject of intellectual teaching- in Church on the following Sunday. To recruit Sunday School teachers only from the families of the squire aii.0, the parson—and the school teachers seems to me A FATAL MISTAKE, and one which can be avoided by any clergy- man who can rely on a good judgment of the character of his fellow-creatures, and who will take the pains to encourage the diffident. It often seems to me that a teacher wlig only knows just a little more than his pupil, suc- ceeds in imipartinig his knowledge in the most practical way because he ie more conscious of the diffieuflties that present themselves than is a teacher who has gone very deeply into a -/ubject and cannot realise the smaller stuni- (aling blocks- I <ilo not under-estimate refined erudition, but I maintain that it is not so in- dispensable as the refinement of a good heart and high characteT-(hcar, hear),—and now that the general standard of education is high- er than it was a generation ago, the choice should bo less restricted- Mistakes may, and will, no doubt, always be made in the selec- tion of teachers, but they will not be too high a price to pay for an enlargement of the re- ligious interest oif the parish, the red'uetion in too size of the classes, and the more direct in- fluence of teachers ae the taught which must result- However great difficulties may be, we must turn out a larger number of Church teachers. If we can overcome them we m,ay look forward with more confidence to the fu- ture, and promise to the child of the Church that "though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a cornea- any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers, and thine ears shall hear a word* behind thee, saying 'this is the way; walk ye in it,' w hen ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (applause). The REV. C. LESLIE JONES, Oswestry, said: The fact that such a subject is put down for our consideration at this Conference points to the fact that all is not well with our Sund'ay Schools —that they do not meet the requirements of present day conditions as they once did, and certainly anyone who has any practical eIX- perience of the workings of Sunday Schools knows well that there is much left undone that ought to be done, and perhaps more done that ought to be left undone. What I have to say to-day is not in any sense theoretical, but the result of practical experience as a teacher for some years and a superintendent of Sunday School's for eig'ht years or more. With this caveat that my experience has been limited to fairly large schools, in towns, my only experience of village schools being in a mining village, where, though the numbers were smaller, I found the conditions exactly similar to those of a large town. Now it is no use attempting to supplement what is defective. We must first attack the defect be- fore we can venture to supplement, and there is a very glaring defect in Sunday Schools. There is too little school, and too much un- happy family. We imitate the school in all directions—by classes, teachers, masters, prizes, and so on-but that which is the foundation of any kcbool without which it ceases to be a school, is left very much to chance. I mea-n discipline. All acknowledge that it is a good thing to have; some that- is essential, but little pains are taken to get it. if, as is usually the caoo, it is absent. Clergy and superintendents REV. J. WAKEFOR-D. I go on with a. patience tha.t is marvellous, and in a better cause, most praiseworthy, keeping a. disorderly school. The weapons to be used to effect discipline are few, far fewer than in an ordinary school, but two of the most effective; are rendered! null and void by our use of them. I mean treatc, and PTizes, which are in nearly all cases' a sop and a bribe, instilling further into the child mind the idea, already there, of what a, Gracious .favour it is conferring by condescending to at- tend -the school. Treats, strictly limited as to distance and expense, the the; better, •should'be a reward for and incentive to right conduct. If we are soft-headed: a.nd let in the iji-behaved, as well as the well behaved, it obliterates' all distinction between good and bad behaviour; and the children quickly draw the accurate a'nd true conclusion, that good conduct is not really regarded as of supreme import- ance. The supreme thing is .to keep the child at alii costs. prizes too should be for absolutely perfect; attendance and conduct for the 52 Sun-' Iw.the day school it iis quite common for children tp go for years. without missing over 800 attendances and never being absent or late and while on: the. subject cf lateness don't 'have late masters, .:abo.:ish them and lock-the door -of the very etcy- 'ho-ai-s of 10.30 and 2.30. You willlèoçm have no late scholars. rhen, a. further great weakness, to school dis* cip:ine 1$that we herd together voung men and women, boys and girls of 16, aid children .from 8 to.. 14, and expect them. all to conform to a. like discipline. It can't be done the modern young person who has left school and is earning his or he.r ili;v.i.ii- cii*t stand it—and so you have to make distinctions Avn-ich -tlie lounger ones quickly spot ahd demand: and take for themselves For yea-rs I, have allowed no one to be a member of the SumdaySchool who has leXt day school or who is over 14 years of age—this Ls the limit for boys, gir.s will stand a year longer—but if we thus limit our school we must provide for ..these ex-schibila.rs till they are ready for that 'which we have had1 them in charge so* long their confirmation—the somewhat- neglected aim and object of all Sundae School work- They must bo drafted., into Bible classes to meet in places other than thp school—in Church vestry or private, house- This plan lessens the numbe,r ,of;Smnday school teachers, and many besides wJll oome forward to take a Bible class who would hot teach in a schog]-such Bible classes to' be Ùltldrerrthe direction of the clergy but a much freer hand being given to the teachers These, young people,, .are,'still to be connected' with tho ischool—joining in its social gatherings -oonimg :to an outing with the privilege ef, contributing to. the cpst. All prizes and rewards should .ccaise, and thev should. ue encouraged tol come to Church Coil important school gather- ings, aind it there is a- children s service many will. Ocpoie to. that voluntarily. Needless to eav an like the C-L.B- is of inestimable advantage, for. alL boys too old for school- Then cornee the'great—the, ,lcng prepared and planned1 for day of confirmation, and here it is that the ,'application 0;, our system breaks down. It is n.o uncommon, thing to see a bo" or girl icon- firmed on. Wednesday and on Sunday, they are 1 back in the eld class seated with boys and girls, some of • whom have, some have not. been confibTOied' while in classes above them there may be lincoi Theoretically, yes.: but; practically in the eyes of. their fellows confirmation confers no status. There is .no idea of coming of a.ge in the spiritual life. We da not treat the newly con- • firme,cl as full-grown members of our Church. In. the Diocesan Defence Committee, started in this droccse last year, there was an age limit for those who might be; enrolled 18 or 16 yeare. To my mind the qualification should have been aecnfirrihed persons. By all means urge, and press the newly-confirmed into communicant classes for instrii* further help, but cease to treat them as children^ and regard and deal; with them as eane-rcrponsible Christian men and "women. The system I advocate is well illustrated from gardening; the Sunday S'chol is the hot-house, the intermediate Bible o'aEo is the cool frame, where they are hardened off. After confirmation they must be placed in the open ground, they must stay in the open ground, and even at the cost of a, few "perishing frqm this rigorous treatment. If they are ever to become not tender delicate exotics, but self reliant, sturdy, faithful sons and daughters of our Mother Church.

"SUPPLEMENT THE WORK OF THE…

THE EVENING MEETING. ----

St. Asaph Diocesan Conference.…