Weekday Bible School
Weekday Bible School, a name given to an arrangement whereby the public schools, especially high schools, in some American communities have at times permitted or invited representatives of the local churches to teach Bible to volunteer classes in the school building, either at a regular period in the daily class schedule, after the last period of the regular schedule, or during a noon or recess period. At times pupils have been released to attend classes conducted at near-by churches. Sometimes teachers have been provided by single churches, at other times by co-operating churches, at times by colleges or seminaries near by. Often the salary of the Bible teacher is paid by the church or churches, at times even by the school. Not often have Mennonites taken up this type of religious instruction because of lack of teachers or distance from the school. A notable exception has been Elkhart and Lagrange counties in northern Indiana, especially Goshen, Topeka, Nappanee, Wakarusa, and Millersburg, where Mennonite churches have shared in supporting such a program and some Mennonite teachers have served, and where a number of students of the Goshen College Biblical Seminary have taught in the high schools on practical work assignments from the seminary. This program has been discontinued.
Another meaning of the weekday Bible school refers to a congregational evening Bible study meeting not connected with the public school. The first appearance of this weekday Bible school in the Mennonite Church (MC) was ca. l930, when J. D. Mininger established a school at the Kansas City Mennonite Mission, which was one of a large number of such schools co-operating in an interdenominational community school planned to serve the children of school age. Weekday Bible schools found sufficient interest also in the Lancaster Mennonite Conference that a weekday Bible school course was prepared by a conference committee to meet local needs. In 1940 the Curriculum Committee of the General Sunday School Committee built an enlarged curriculum based on the Lancaster course. In the next decade a considerable number of congregations introduced the weekday Bible school, but attached it to the Wednesday evening congregational meeting. This was something quite different from work in the public schools. The greatest flourishing of this movement was in the Franconia Mennonite Conference, where for a decade large numbers enrolled in the Wednesday evening Bible study classes.
Between 1946 and 1954 little work was done in preparation of a weekday Bible school curriculum. The Lancaster materials for twelve grades (two preschool, grades 1-10) continue to be available and have gone through several editions. During the summer of 1954, however, outlines for a weekday Bible curriculum were prepared to supplement the projected graded Sunday-school curriculum. Weekday Bible school promotion has been carried on by the Mennonite Commission for Christian Education through its Weekday Bible School Secretary, Noah G. Good, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Lederach, Paul. History of Religious Education in the Mennonite Church. Ph.D. diss., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1949): 257-60.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 909. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. and Paul M. Lederach. "Weekday Bible School." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W443.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. and Paul M. Lederach. (1959). Weekday Bible School. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W443.html.