Mennonite Commission for Christian Education (Mennonite Church)
The Mennonite Commission for Christian Education (Mennonite Church) was organized in 1937 by action of Mennonite Church General Conference. It was an enlargement and reorganization of the General Sunday School Committee (1915-1937) and a merger of other General Conference committees active in Christian education, viz., Young People's Bible Meeting Committee (1909-1937), and Young People's Problems Committee (1921-1937). The Commission was charged with the responsibility to coordinate, promote, and supervise the Christian education agencies operating in the local congregations, not including the church schools under the direction of the Mennonite Board of Education.
The Commission was composed of 12 members. At first six were elected by General Conference, one each by the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, Mennonite Publication Board, and the Mennonite Board of Education, and three by the Commission itself. In 1941 General Conference adopted a revised constitution by which ten members were elected by General Conference and two by the Commission itself.
The Commission met semiannually. In these meetings the Commission worked as a cabinet, each of the officers and divisional secretaries for the various phases of education giving his report. The Field Secretary was the executive officer of the Commission, and with each divisional secretary formed a committee of two to implement recommendations from the Commission and to plan a program of promotion in each area of interest. The scope of Commission work was seen in the 1957 list of divisional secretaries: (1) Sunday schools, (2) summer Bible schools, (3) weekday Bible schools, (4) church camps, (5) Christian service training, (6) missionary education, (7) church music, (8) junior activities, (9) young people's activities, (10) adult activities, (11) home interests, (12) audiovisual aids, (13) Sunday evening services. Each secretary was to study his respective field, to carry on a program of promotion in cooperation with the field secretary, to cooperate in the planning of curriculum materials, and to collect pertinent statistics.
During 1941-1956 the Commission published annually the Handbook for Christian Workers. It also published many pieces of promotional literature.
The Commission coordinated the teaching efforts of the Church, and contributed to improved teaching efficiency. The Commission led the church in facing educational problems, such as child evangelism; it took the lead, through its Curriculum Committee, in planning needed curriculum materials. It sponsored Sunday-school conventions and workshops, and brought the attention of the church to special teaching emphases through its annual teaching themes, such as "Christian Training for Every Member" (1943), "Christian Nonresistance" (1953), "Every Member Evangelism" (1954), "Christian Nonconformity" (1955), and "Knowing and Using the Bible" (1956). The Curriculum Committee was at the heart of the educational program. It was responsible both to the Commission and the Mennonite Publication Board. Its work in stating objectives and outlining curriculum materials for summer Bible school and Sunday-school use was worthy of note.
The first officers of the Commission were as follows: A. J. Metzler, chairman; O, O. Miller, vice-chairman; Paul Erb, secretary-treasurer; fourth member, Jesse B. Martin; and I. W. Royer, fifth member. J. R. Mumaw was first field secretary. In 1957 the officers were Richard Detweiler, chairman; Noah Good, vice-chairman; J. J. Hostetler, secretary- treasurer, and Paul M. Lederach, field secretary. Fourth and fifth members were no longer elected. Paul Mininger was long chairman of the Curriculum Committee.
The Mennonite Commission for Christian Education ended its work in 1971 when the Mennonite Church (MC) went through a major reorganization. Some of its duties were taken over by the Mennonite Board of Congregational Ministries.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 618-619. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Lederach, Paul M. "Mennonite Commission for Christian Education (Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M46615.html.
APA style: Lederach, Paul M. (1957). Mennonite Commission for Christian Education (Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M46615.html.