Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bible SchoolSuperintendent's Letter, 1913

The following letter and some stern directives are taken directly from the 1913 edition of the Trinity Presbyterian Church Directory. The Directory also included a letter of welcome and encouragement from the Pastor, John Burns as well as financial information about the congregation, a complete Bible School directory, and advertisements from local businesses some of which are included here.

We talk quite a bit as a congregation about how difficult it is in these days to encourage families to find time to get their children to church because of overloads of school work, sporting activities and all of the other things that take up the precious moments of our modern lives. As you read the letter below you will see that almost 100 years ago the church was saying the exact same things to parents that we say today: if you want to encourage your children in their faith you need to lead by example, to educate yourself, to participate in the worship and mission of a congregation and to make living a Christlike life a priority for your entire family. Those lessons are just as valuable if not more than what children might learn in their Sunday School class.


Every boy or girl ought to have a religious training such as the Bible School gives. The object of the Bible School teaching is the formation of Christian character. Its influence will help to make our boys and girls better prepared for the battles of life. Every child has a religious instinct born in him and if that instinct is not brought out in the child by a proper religious training either in the home or Bible School, but is permitted to die, then that boy or girl will have a hard fight in life, with temptations and evil on every side to lure him into a life of sin.

It behooves all parents to encourage their children in anything that is for the betterment of character and true citizenship. One of the best ways to encourage our young folks to attend Bible School is to attend ourselves. We cannot expect our children to go if we do not. In these days the Sunday School has been making its appeal to the older folks and so we call it our Bible School. We believe the Bible School is a place for the training of the old as well as the young. Most of the men high in public life are or have been workers in the Bible School. Men like President Wm. McKinley, Benjamin Harrison, his grandfather Wm. Henry Harrison, Theo. Roosevelt, Justice John M. Harlan, Secretary Leslie M. Shaw, and scores of others have found their place in the work of the Bible School.

We have classes for everyone and cordially invite all the people of this community to come and meet with us. We will help you and you will help us. Our teachers are all hard workers and will give you the best instruction. Anyone coming into our school on Sunday morning will find it a very busy place—a place where the teaching of the Bible and the uplifting of humanity are foremost. "I was glad when they said unto me: Let us go into the House of the Lord."

And from the end of the Church Directory…

Please notify the pastor when any change of address occurs.
Habitual absence from church or from four consecutive Communion Services without good reason will be regarded by the session as just cause for dropping your name from the church roll.
Let everyone be faithful in attendance, and loyal and devoted to the Master and His church.

Your Pastor desires our church to be a Praying, Bible Reading, Giving, Working, Hospitable Church, with a Family Altar in every home, and every member a true Christian. Will you do your part to make it such a church?

I will do nothing that -will hinder my becoming Christ-like or my neighbor becoming Christlike. I will make it the all absorbing purpose of my life to do everything I can to help myself to become Christlike and to help my neighbor to become Christlike. I shall have tune, talents, energy, money, to spend only for that which will directly or indirectly advance God's kingdom in my life and in the lives of my fellow men.

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