One of the most characteristic and influential institutions of modern American Christianity is the Sunday school. Like many other good things imported from Europe, it was greatly improved and thoroughly Americanized in the course of its 150 years of history on this continent. First established by Robert Raikes in Gloucester, England, in 1780, it reached Virginia as early as 1786 and passed rapidly from there to the leading cities of the eastern seaboard, including Philadelphia in 1790, and Boston and New York in 1791. In 1811 it reached Canada. By 1815 it had become a powerful, popular movement, and by 1824 a national organization, called the American Sunday School Union, had been organized to promote Sunday schools on a nationwide scale. In 1830 this organization undertook a great missionary campaign "within two years to establish a Sunday school in every destitute place where it is practicable throughout the valley of the Mississippi," and in 1839 it resolved to establish a Sunday school "in every place in the West."
The first Sunday schools, however, were radically different from the modern Sunday school both in purpose and method. The Sunday school was conceived by Robert Raikes as a school for helping poor factory children of the lower classes to learn something of morals and religion, and to keep them off the street. The first Sunday schools were definitely promoted as private schools with paid teachers to deal with one of the most flagrant evils arising from the newly introduced factory system, the degradation of childhood. Not until 1812, in Philadelphia, was a Sunday school established on a voluntary basis with unpaid teachers with the definite purpose of teaching all children the Bible and leading them into an active religious experience. And not until after 1830 was the idea widespread that children of all classes should have Sunday-school privileges. Not until 1844 did any American denominational body officially and fully recognize the Sunday school as a church agency.
Since, therefore, the early Sunday schools were of private origin and promoted by persons interested in what might be called today "social service among the poor," and since the instruction of the youth of the church was generally carried on by catechetical methods within the ecclesiastical boundaries, there was much opposition to the attempt to make the Sunday school a universal Christian institution. For a generation or more it was promoted by private individuals and private organizations often against the opposition of official church leaders. In some sections of the country widespread bitterness and antagonism were created by the aggressive enterprise of Sunday-school leaders. For instance, in 1830 a Baptist Association in Illinois passed a resolution which is typical of many, saying: "We as an Association do not hesitate to say that we declare an unfellowship with Foreign and Domestic Mission and Bible Societies, Sunday Schools, and Quack Societies, and all other Missionary Institutions." In fact, a large share of the Baptists of the Middle West at that time adopted an anti-mission and anti-Sunday-school position which had an unfortunate effect upon the progress of that denomination in later years.
Along with the Sunday school, other aggressive evangelical methods were used in building up the Christian religion among the masses. The first quarter of the 19th century in America witnessed the organization of several foreign missionary societies, as well as Bible societies, tract societies, temperance societies, anti-Masonic societies, and numerous other organizations. The first foreign mission board, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, was established in 1815; the American Bible Society in 1816; the American Sunday School Union in 1824; the American Tract Society in 1825. By 1830 the Bible Society, the Sunday School Union, and the Tract Society were cooperating in a tremendous campaign to Christianize America, and were doing it outside the regular denominational organizations. By 1850 the denominations began to form their own organizations to promote Sunday schools, home missions, and similar enterprises, and by this time great achievements were obtained in establishing the Christian church and Christian morals in the great newly occupied frontier territory. In the forefront of the work were the numerous hard-working, self-sacrificing missionaries of the American Sunday School Union, and the colporteurs of the American Bible Society and the American Tract Society. These men and organizations conquered the frontier for Christ quite as much as did the organized denominational agencies. This tremendous forward movement of evangelical Christianity in America was the result largely of the Great Revival of 1800, which was the most far-reaching in its results of all the revivals which have come to the Christian churches of America.
No doubt the most influential of all these institutions was the Sunday school. It adapted itself to the growing needs of the country, improved its methods, and enlarged its services. Beginning as a school for children from 6 to 12 of the poor classes, it soon sought to provide for all children, and ultimately for all Christians, direct systematic Bible study. In 1825 for the first time, through the American Sunday School Union, uniform lessons and question books were provided. Lesson helps of the modern type were introduced in 1866. In 1872 the modern international series of uniform Sunday-school lessons was set up. Along the way teacher-training courses, Sunday-school institutes, and Sunday-school conventions of various kinds were established to promote enthusiasm and to improve the work. By the fifth national convention of 1872, the American Sunday school had become a thoroughly established, powerful, national institution, recognized by practically all of the churches, and destined to play an increasingly important role in the spiritual history of America and of the world. It was in America, where religious instruction in the public schools is not only practically unknown but forbidden, and where tradition requires complete separation of church and state, that the Sunday school has been able to unfold its true genius and exercise its full power, in contrast to Europe where the state church provides religious instruction in the public schools, and where the Sunday school has never flourished to such a great extent.
It is on this background of American Sunday-school history that the history of the Sunday school among the Mennonites of North America must be understood. The history and development of the Sunday school in the various Mennonite bodies has never been thoroughly studied, except for the Mennonite Church (MC). The following bodies in North America have never accepted the Sunday school: Old Order Amish, Old Order Mennonite, Reformed Mennonite, Stauffer Mennonite, Old Colony Mennonite, and Sommerfeld Mennonite. The schism of the Wisler (Old Order) Mennonites in Indiana in 1872 was occasioned partly by the introduction of the Sunday school. No other schism is directly attributable to the Sunday-school problem.
Mennonite Church (MC)
Probably the first Mennonite Sunday school in North America was established in Waterloo County, Ontario, in 1840 in the Wanner and Bechtel (Hagey) Mennonite meetinghouses. The second Sunday school seems to have been the one held in 1841 by the Kitchener (then Berlin), ON, congregation. The third Sunday school apparently was the one established by Bishop Nicholas Johnson in 1842 at Masontown in southwestern Pennsylvania. Another early Sunday school was established by Bishop Jacob Gross and Dilman Moyer in 1848 at Moyers (First Mennonite) church near Vineland, ON. In eastern Pennsylvania in 1847 or earlier, apparently before the General Conference Mennonite schism which he led, John H. Oberholtzer introduced a Sunday school into the Swamp congregation, near Quakertown, PA, under the name "Meetings for Instruction of Children," in German "Kinderlehre." The meetings were held on alternate Sunday afternoons and were fairly well attended for a number of years, although a formal Sunday school at West Swamp was not established until 1858. Sunday school was conducted among the Amish of Mifflin County, PA, before 1850. Most of these Sunday schools were later discontinued.
The first permanent Mennonite (MC) Sunday school in America was started by the South Union congregation near West Liberty, Ohio, by David Plank in May 1863. The record book of this Sunday school contains this statement for May 31, 1863 (translated): "J. C. Kanagy and D. Plank, ministers of the Church of God in this vicinity, have decided with the council of the church to organize a Sunday school in the name of God, for we believe quite confidently that as the fathers and mothers give us their support, much good will arise out of it." In a few years Sunday schools were established in widely scattered sections of the church and gradually became accepted as a part of the ministry of the church to its young people.
The growth of the Sunday school, however, was slow and not without serious opposition. Some of the reasons for opposing it were that it was patterned after that of other churches, was "worldly" and fostered pride, placed teaching responsibility into the hands of the laity, and was unsupported by the Bible. It is an interesting fact that through the Amish churches, which were generally not yet bound together by district conferences, the Sunday-school movement spread among the Mennonites.
In 1863, J. N. Brubacher, then a layman, started a Sunday school in the Pike Schoolhouse in Rapho Township, Lancaster County, PA, having received his inspiration from an Episcopal Sunday school in Philadelphia which he had attended. Upon the ordination of Brubacher as minister in 1865, this Sunday school was discontinued. In 1866 the Washington, IL, congregation organized a Sunday school. In 1869 the Virginia Conference permitted Sunday schools. The Ohio Conference approved Sunday schools in 1867; Indiana Conference in 1868; and Lancaster Conference in 1871.
In the Lancaster Conference the first permanent Sunday school was organized at Willow Street in 1871, and those at New Providence, Strasburg, Slate Hill, and Churchtown in 1872. Hershey's started one in 1874, Landisville in 1878, and Kraybill's in 1879.
The first permanent Sunday school in the Franconia Conference was started in 1878 at Towamencin, near Lansdale, PA. However, the majority of the Franconia Conference congregations did not start Sunday schools until after 1880, and many of them not until after 1890, a few even waiting until after 1900.
During the decade 1865-75 Sunday schools were started in every state where there were Mennonite or Amish congregations, and most Mennonite conferences took action approving Sunday schools. In that decade at least 35 permanent Sunday schools were established. By 1875 the victory had been won in substance, and by 1890 in the west it was the exceptional congregation that did not have it. In 1880 John F. Funk published Sunday-school "question books" authorized by the Lancaster Conference. The victory was sealed in 1890 with the establishment of an English and a German quarterly, published at Elkhart and edited by John S. Coffman; a General Sunday School Conference was held near Goshen, Ind., in 1892.
Since then the development of Sunday schools in the Mennonite Church has been substantial and progressive. For this no person deserves more credit than I. W. Royer, of Orrville, Ohio, who for many years was Sunday School Secretary of the General Sunday School Committee, which was organized in 1915 to promote Sunday schools, and was displaced in 1937 by the Mennonite Commission for Christian Education. Also through the agency of the summer Bible school many Sunday schools have been begun in rural and city mission stations. In 1932 the Sunday schools had increased to 414 with an enrollment of 62,010; in 1937, 584 schools with 74,654; in 1957, 715 schools with 102,172.
In the Mennonite Church the promotional responsibility for the Sunday school in the 1950s lay with the Commission for Christian Education through its field secretary, and the divisional secretary for Sunday schools. This agency, combined with the extensive graded curriculum materials available through the Herald Uniform Sunday School Series, made growth in numbers as well as in quality more readily possible.
Sunday-school literature as it was developed first at Elkhart by the Mennonite Publishing Company and then at Scottdale by the Mennonite Publishing House, including both the pupil and teacher quarterlies, the Sunday-school papers of several levels (Beams of light, Words of cheer, and Youth's Christian companion), and the teacher-training materials, in the 1950s were the most widely read literature in the church and constituted the backbone of the publication work of the church. Teachers' meetings, formerly held weekly (either on a weekday evening or Sunday morning before Sunday school), later not so common, were strong influences for spiritual growth and unity. Teacher-training classes have been prominent in many congregations. Sunday-school conferences beginning in 1892 and held annually in most conference districts ever since, although now usually called Christian Workers' Conferences, have been very stimulating to spiritual life and vision. Mission Sunday schools have been the most effective means of church extension in the second quarter of the 20th century.
In the long perspective of a century of Sunday-school history, the church of the 1950s can better appreciate what the Sunday school has meant for the spiritual life and progress of the Mennonite Church. Without doubt it has been one of the major factors in the revival and forward movement of the last two generations. Amos Herr, one of the most able ministers of the Lancaster Conference in the 19th century, felt in 1880 that it was "the only salvation of the church." While this may be a slight overstatement, yet it is probably true that the Sunday school saved the church from great disaster by the new life, new spirit, new activity, and new vision which it put into the church. Many of the congregations that rejected the Sunday school either have died out or have gradually declined.
Wherein lay the great significance of the Sunday school for the church? A careful study suggests nine major contributions of the Sunday school. This summary is not to imply that the Sunday school was the only source of these improvements, but rather that the Sunday school was in general the initial and most important single factor. (1) The Sunday school was an important factor in holding the young people for the church. (2) It has greatly increased Bible knowledge. (3) It elevated the level of spiritual life. (4) It raised the level of moral life in the church, especially through the teaching of temperance. (5) It provided activity and expression and thus contributed to new life in the church. (6) It created lay leadership. (7) It was largely responsible for the missionary movement. (8) It was a factor in the great awakening of the Mennonite Church which occurred in 1890-1910. (9) It helped to give the Mennonite Church a new vision.
Wherever the North American Mennonites have gone in mission work, at home or abroad, they have taken the Sunday school with them with some adaptations.
Among European Mennonites, the Sunday school was widely accepted during the first quarter of the 20th century as a means of Christian education for children under catechetical age, that is, up to 14 years. It has not, however, taken the American form of a Bible study program for the entire church membership divided into classes before (or after) the regular Sunday morning worship. According to Paul Schowalter the first European Sunday schools were apparently the two introduced in the Palatinate, Germany -- in the Deutschhof congregation in 1861, established following the closing of the private elementary school there, and in the Friedelsheim congregation in 1884, begun by the wife of the pastor, Ellenberger, who had learned about the Sunday school at Männedorf in Switzerland. In Ludwigshafen it was introduced c1918 by the wife of the pastor, Emil Händiges, who came from the Baptists. In 1958 practically all of the Palatine Mennonite congregations had Sunday schools, many of them introduced in imitation of the children's services in the state church congregations between World Wars I and II. The work of the American Mennonite Pax boys also stimulated Sunday schools (e.g., Enkenbach). Most of the larger congregations in the Badischer Verband also had Sunday schools. In Switzerland the Sunday school was introduced at least by 1910 in a number of places, such as Moron and Les Bulles. In West Prussia the Sunday school came in largely between World Wars I and II. HSB
General Conference Mennonite Church
The Sunday school came early into the Eastern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church, the oldest component of the conference. Following are the dates of the beginning of the Sunday school in the ten oldest congregations: West Swamp-1858, East Swamp-1859, Flatland-1859, Deep Run-1859, Upper Milford-1860, Germantown- 1863, Eden-1867, Philadelphia-1868, Hereford-1870, Springfield- 1877. The first Sunday School convention was held at Philadelphia in 1876; it has been held every year since.
Prussia and Russia
Among the Mennonites of Prussia and Russia the practice of gathering children for Sunday school to teach them the basic contents of the Bible and the Christian truth is of comparatively recent origin. The Mennonites of the Dutch-Prussian-Russian tradition did this in their parochial elementary schools in Prussia as well as in Russia and during the catechetical instruction before baptism. With the pietistic revival of the 18th and 19th centuries the practice of gathering the children in a Sunday school was introduced. P. M. Friesen (Brüderschaft, 1911) makes barely any reference to this practice. This would indicate that the Sunday school had gained little prominence among the Mennonites of Prussia and Russia by the time of World War I. Wherever it was introduced it was primarily in the hands of some young people who felt the need, particularly after the Revolution, of instructing the children in Bible. Unser Blatt (1925-28), published for the Mennonites of Russia, hardly mentions such activity. Nevertheless, since religious instruction had been removed from the curriculum of the school, attempts were made in many settlements to provide this instruction in Sunday school, which was conducted primarily on Sunday afternoons. However, this instruction had to cease completely around 1926-27 when group or public instruction of young people in religion was forbidden.
The Sunday school gradually gained a foothold in the first half of the 20th century among the Mennonites of Prussia and became an accepted practice until the Mennonite churches of that area were dissolved in connection with World War II. How ever, in all cases these Sunday schools were primarily dependent on the instruction and the abilities of a few individuals without much choice in materials or any preparation for this purpose. Only among those who went to Canada and South America after World War I did this program fully develop. With few exceptions the Sunday school was originally for children of elementary school age and not for adults. In Canada by the 1950s adults also attended Sunday school. CK
After Sunday schools for children had been in use in England for more than a century and in a few Dutch towns by individual members of the Reformed Church since 1883, about 1895 Sunday-school work (for children only) was started in some Dutch Mennonite congregations (in Amsterdam as early as 1887). Gradually more and more congregations established Sunday schools for the children (ages about 6 to 12 or 13) of their members and others interested. Now nearly all Dutch Mennonite congregations have Sunday schools. In most churches they are operated according to the West Hill system (used in English Sunday schools since 1903); i.e., the children sit together in small groups on little chairs or benches, divided according to age; the subject matter of teaching and manipulation are adapted to the mental and intellectual grasp of the little ones; an individual approach to each child is aimed at; besides this, the activity of the children is stimulated by reproducing and expressing what has been taught by drawing or modeling in papier-maché or clay. Thus the school-class system is completely abandoned; the meetings are changed into children's religious services. Boys and girls of about 14-17 assist the leaders in these West Hill Sunday schools, to which the children are now admitted in their fourth year.
The high point of the Sunday school is the Christmas holiday, on the occasion of which often a play expressing the meaning of the coming of Jesus Christ is presented by the children. -- vdZ
Three major developments have affected the Sunday school movement among Mennonites in the years since 1955 (See article "Sunday School (1958)"). Sunday schools have become highly organized, extensive work has been accomplished in philosophy and curriculum development, and the educational settings of the congregation have expanded far beyond the confines of Sunday school.
Emphasizing organization and growth, Mennonites followed the example of mainline Protestant Sunday schools in the 1950s and introduced graded classes in all departments. Churches began to make long-range plans for education, train teachers, build proper facilities, and purchase equipment for the school environment. Training events undergirded the educational efforts of the church with courses offered in Bible study methods, teaching strategies, songleading, family life issues, and group leadership dynamics.
Also supporting the organized school was a new publication jointly produced by the Board of Education and Publication of the General Conference Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas, and the Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, Pa. Edited by Maynard Shelly, Builder was introduced in October 1960, with the purpose of supporting congregational education and providing helps for Sunday school teachers. Monthly columns were prepared with a special focus on adult, youth, and children's education. The magazine also included background biblical essays for Sunday school teachers.
A series of consultations and seminars over the next 20 years provided direction for educational philosophy and ultimately for curriculum development. In 1963, Christian educators, representatives of churchwide boards, pastors, and theologians participated in a study which developed a single objective for Christian education in the Mennonite Church (MC): "Through Christian education, the church seeks to help all persons to know God as revealed supremely in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures; to become aware of who they are, of what their situation is, and of their alienation, to the end that they may repent of their sin, respond to God's redeeming love in faith, and become members of the body of Christ; to grow in Christ within the community of believers; to walk in the Spirit in every relationship; to fulfill the call to discipleship in the world; and to abide in the Christian hope."
In 1968, Paul M. Lederach, director of curriculum development in the Mennonite Church (MC), called for a clearer educational vision in his book, Reshaping the teaching ministry. Among the concerns addressed in the book are the inadequacy of Sunday school to educate people for Christian living, the separation of Sunday school from worship, the lack of clarity concerning the pastor's role in education, the need for teacher training, and the need for coordination among church agencies in providing educational resources for congregations.
In an effort to develop common understandings and a unified goal for congregational education, a four-day Christian education seminar at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mt. Pleasant, Pa., in 1970 brought together representatives from all areas of Mennonite Church (MC) and General Conference Mennonite life. The slogan, "Enabling Adults in Mission," became the organizing focus for the years ahead. As a result of the seminar, more attention was given to Christian education as an experience-centered process. The educational ministry of the congregation was expanded to include such settings as decision-making by consensus, formulating congregational covenants, participation in marriage enrichment seminars and retreats, and experiencing growth through small group sharing in study and fellowship. Workshops were promoted in congregations with the purpose of helping adults understand how children, youth, and adults really learn. Laboratory methods of learning which emphasized self-discovery and involvement were promoted as well as responding to the Bible through art, drama, and writing. Elective studies were published to emphasize and develop the mission theme.
A major step was taken toward cooperative curriculum development in 1972 when leaders representing Mennonite, Church of the Brethren, and Brethren in Christ groups participated in a consultation at Camp Amigo, near Sturgis, Mich. After exploring the possibility of developing a new graded Sunday school curriculum for ages two through grade eight, three groups took action to become publishing partners (Mennonite Church [MC], Brethren in Christ, General Conference Mennonite Church) with one group (Church of the Brethren) deciding to become cooperative users of the curriculum.
A publishing council and an editorial council with Paul M. Lederach as executive director were formed in 1973 to oversee the project. Global objectives for the joint curriculum project were (1) to provide congregations with educational materials containing information, methods, resources, evaluation; (2) to assist adults to share the heritage of the People of God, its history, its present life, and its destiny with children in the midst of the congregation; (3) so that the children, individually and corporately, will freely respond, to the full extent of their ability to Jesus Christ in love, in faith, in obedience. Called the Foundation series, the new curriculum was first used in September 1977 along with new teacher training resources.
(The Mennonite Church and General Conference Mennonite Church introduced a new Jubilee: God's Good News curriculum in the 1990s, to incorporate newer pedagogical techniques. The Brethren in Church Church and the Church of the Brethren were publishing partners in the project. The Mennonite Brethren Church was a supporting denomination.)
In 1976 a similar group met at the United Mennonite Church, Vineland, Ont., to test and develop a proposal for a new curriculum for youth and adults which would enlarge the Foundation Series. Under the oversight of executive director Helmut Harder, the new youth curriculum first began to be used in Sept. 1981. Also introduced in 1981, a two-year course for adults highlighted the faith understandings of Anabaptism. Not intended to replace the Uniform Series (International Sunday School Lessons) which had been the standard study series for adults, but rather to supplement it, the eight-part adult Foundation Series focused on such themes as community, faith development, the family of God, the Kingdom of God, peace, mission, stewardship, and the Word and Spirit.
Intensive teacher training supported these curricular developments. "Project Teach," a week-long, live-in teacher training event, which was first held at Bethel College (Ks.) in 1973, was jointly sponsored by the Commission on Education (GCM), Mennonite Board of Congregational Ministries (MC), and regional conference or district leadership. The week of learning included group studies in Mennonite history, Anabaptist theology, Bible study, and human development as well as classroom training in creative teaching methods. "Project: Teach" was succeeded in 1986 with a four-day weekend version known as ACT (Aid to Christian Teaching).
During the time that the church was investing heavily in Sunday school, other educational settings in the congregation also began to flourish. Midweek small group fellowships often studied the Bible together or reflected on current issues. Intergenerational family clusters experimented with a more flexible, experience-centered style of education. The growth and expansion of Mennonite camps and weekend retreats added more opportunities for Christian education. The resulting proliferation of educational settings in recent years has tended to make the Sunday school less significant.
Although a desire to integrate worship and the various educational settings had been expressed since the 1960s, a renewed vision for integration was developed in a consultation held in March 1982, at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries in Elkhart, Ind. Two years later leaders from Mennonite, Church of the Brethren, and Brethren in Christ churches met at LaGrange Park, Ill., to continue to discern a vision for congregational education which would meet the challenges of the 1990s. Growing out of these two events in 1982 and 1984, the Inter-Mennonite Task Force on Future Models of Education in the Congregation was appointed to plan for and develop a new model of education that would fulfill the vision for unity of congregational ministries (encompassing worship, community and mission) and enable congregations to be loving signs of God's reign in the world.
Mennonites have also sought to assess the impact of Sunday school participation. The Kauffman-Harder church member profile of 1972 measured this impact in five denominations (Mennonite Church [MC], General Conference Mennonite Church, Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Evangelical Mennonite Church). Using criteria suggested by H. S. Bender in Mennonite Sunday school centennial, 1840-1940 (Scottdale, 1940) , researchers found that Sunday school has contributed positively to the life of the church and reinforces other types of religious commitment.
Compared to other major American denominations, Mennonites and Brethren ranked high in Sunday school attendance. Among the five groups, however, significant differences were observed in the level of Sunday school participation. The Evangelical Mennonite Church (MC) ranked highest followed by Brethren in Christ, then Mennonite Church, Mennonite Brethren, and finally the General Conference Mennonite Church. The age group least likely to be involved in Sunday school was 20-29 years old whereas those over 30 expressed a higher degree of interest. The more urbanized people are, the less likely they are to be involved in Sunday school.
The Kauffman-Harder study revealed that those who regularly participated in Sunday school scored significantly higher than others in biblical knowledge. They also scored higher on scales measuring personal piety, morality, and evangelistic involvement but not on social ethics.
Although the Sunday school has provided many opportunities for lay leadership in the church, those who regularly participated in Sunday school were slightly less likely than others to be committed to the concept of shared ministry. Kauffman and Harder concluded that one of the most crucial goals of an Anabaptist Christian education apparently has not been achieved by the contemporary Sunday school.
Though their research focused mainly on the Sunday school, Kauffman and Harder suggested that informal nurture in the family and community and corporate discernment among believers have traditionally been the way faith is transmitted among Anabaptist groups. Some evidence suggests that the introduction of Sunday school, a formal agency for Christian education with borrowed assumptions and emphases, has in fact contributed to the decline of corporate discernment as a significant context for Christian education among the descendents of the Anabaptists. In the future, new approaches for nurturing faith undoubtedly will be required to meet the challenge of forming Christians in the world. -- MKr
Bender, Harold S. Mennonite Sunday School Centennial 1840-1940. Scottdale, PA, 1940: 12-23.
Cressman, Arnold W. "Input in the Consideration of a Philosophy of Christian Education for the Congregation." Background paper for the Philosophy of Education Seminar, 13-16 September 1968.
Harder, Leland. Perspectives on the Nurturing of Faith, Occasional Papers no. 6. Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1983.
Hertzler, Daniel. Mennonite Education: Why and How? Scottdale, PA, 1971.
Historical Booklet and Program of the Diamond Jubilee Sunday School Convention of the Eastern District Conference of the Mennonite Church. Philadelphia, 1949.
Horsch, James E. "The Objectives of a Believers' Church Curriculum." Builder 26, no. 12 (December 1976).
Inter-Mennonite Task Force on Future Models of Education. "Growing Into Christ: an Educational Vision." Unpublished position paper, Nov. 1987.
Kauffman, J. Howard and Leland Harder, eds. Anabaptists Four Centuries Later: a Profile of Five Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Denominations. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1975.
Kauffman, Milo. "The Rise and Development of Sunday Schools in the Mennonite Church in Indiana." Thesis for the M.A. in R.E., McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, 1931.
Kropf, Marlene. "A New Model of Congregational Education." Builder 37, no. 4 (April 1987).
Lederach, Paul M. Handbook: Mennonite Commission for Christian Education. Scottdale, PA: MCCE, 1957.
Lederach, Paul M. "The History of Religious Education in the Mennonite Church." Doctoral diss., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1949.
Lederach, Paul M. Reshaping the Teaching Ministry. Scottdale, PA, 1968.
Mennonitisches Lexikon IV, 209-11.
Umble, John. Ohio Mennonite Sunday Schools. Goshen, IN, 1941.
Umble, John. "Early Sunday Schools at West Liberty, Ohio." Mennonite Quarterly Review 4 (1930): 6-50.
Umble, John. "Early Mennonite Sunday Schools of Northwestern Ohio." Mennonite Quarterly Review 5 (1931): 100-11, 179-97, 260-71.
Umble, John. "Early Mennonite Sunday School Lesson Helps." Mennonite Quarterly Review 12 (1935): 98-113.
Wittlinger, Carlton O. Quest for Piety and Obedience: the Story of the Brethren in Christ. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1978, 413ff.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 657-660; v. 5, pp. 865-867. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S., Cornelius Krahn, Nanne van der Zijpp and Marlene Kropf. "Sunday School." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 26 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S8437ME.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S., Cornelius Krahn, Nanne van der Zijpp and Marlene Kropf. (1989). Sunday School. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S8437ME.html.