A Look Back at Religious Education in 1937

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

As Leslie Woodward so excellently guides our young people and teachers in our Religious Education program today [in 2014], so did others that have preceded her.

The following is a review of the planned Religious Education curriculum for the 1937-38 school year as reported in the weekly order of service for November 29, 1936:

“In the belief that modern religious education must seek to ‘realize religion’ in the experiences of its students, rather than to ‘impose’ it, the church school staff of this church has decided to undertake a unified program of its own design during the coming year.

The best in the past will be coupled with the best in the present to achieve desired results. A theme will be considered each month and the opening service of worship will treat this theme under certain topics each Sunday. Each class will then proceed to develop its interests in the particular topics during the class periods. In addition to familiar procedures, there will be practices which will further aid in bringing the pupils an ‘experience’ instead of a ‘lesson’. Special worship services, construction projects, research expeditions, composition, contact with experts, discussion, nature study and other stimulating items will bring a situation where there is, to quote a pertinent jingle: Learning through the things they do, instead of through a talking to.’

Success in this venture will depend, at the start particularly, upon the cooperation of the parents. Parents owe their children guidance in religious education. The Church School exists for the precise purpose of assisting parents in their job. Regular attendance will make possible the fulfillment of our common tasks. Our job depends on your job, parents.

The following outline presents the course to be followed by all classes this year:”

Religious Education Curriculum: 1937-38 School Year

September: Loyalty
13 Companionship
20 Consecration
27 Rally Day

October: Courage
4 Courage of Thought
11 Courage of Convictions
18 Courage of Action
25 Courage of Sacrifice

November: Brotherhood & Thanksgiving
1 Brotherhood Through Play
8 Brotherhood Through Work
22 Thanksgiving
29 Debate: Is Complete Brotherhood Possible?

December: Jesus
6 A Real Boy
13 Jesus Prepares for His Work
20 Pageant
27 Jesus Enlists Helpers

January: Opportunity & Vision
3 Quest for God Through a New Vision
10 Quest for God Through Service
17 Quest for God Through Prayer
24 Quest for God Through Dreams
31 Quest for God Through Action

February: Lives of Great Men
7 Lincoln
14 John Murray
21 Washington
28 Mohammed

March: Footprints in the Sands of Time
7 Singing Himself Free
14 The Labrador Doctor
21 The Rich Ruler
28 Easter

April: Beauty
4 Music
11 Literature
18 Art
25 Nature

May: Others
2 Ye Fed Me and Clothed Me
9 Mother’s Day
16 Our Friends, the Animals
23 Freedom of Thought and Speech
30 Heroes of Peace

June: Myself
6 Graduation
13 Children’s Day
20 Friendship
27 What I Want To Be

July: Our Church
4 The Story of Worship
11 The Story of Christianity
18 The Story of Protestantism
25 The Story of Our Church