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The Encyclopedia of Sunday Schools and Religious Education
Giving a World-Wide View of the History and Progress of the Sunday School and the Development of Religious Education. Complete in Three Volumes. Editors-in-Chief John T. McFarland, D.D., LL.D., Late Editor of Sunday School Publications, Methodist Episcopal Church, New York City, Benjamin S. Winchester, D.D., Department of Religious Education, Yale School of Religion, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Canadian Editor: R. Douglas Fraser, D.D., Editor Presbyterian Sunday School Publications, Toronto, Canada and European Editor: Rev. J. Williams Butcher, Secretary Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Department, London, England.


An Encyclopedia of Religious Education.—The last two decades have witnessed a remarkable development in religious education. Up to the present time there has been no book of general reference covering this field. The sources of information on the subject are widely scattered and for the majority of people inaccessible, making inquiry tedious and baffling. This work presents for the first time in compact form a survey of all phases of religious education.

A Compendium of Sunday School Work.—The Sunday school is the only agency which attempts to provide formal instruction in religion for persons of all ages. Upon the Sunday school in the United States rests the entire responsibility for supplying, in any systematic way, the religious element in popular education. The church derives eighty-five per cent of its membership from the Sunday school and is very properly extending the functions of the Sunday school and correlating its work with other forms of religious education. To meet the demands laid upon it the Sunday school must be not only thoroughly organized; it must be generously equipped and provided with wise and expert leadership in every department. There is a growing appreciation of the significance of the Sunday school as an educational agency, accompanied by a widespread desire to know the essential facts of its history and to become acquainted with the most approved principles and methods.

Scope.—The work thus covers the whole field of religious education. As the Sunday school is generally the oldest and most inclusive agency for religious instruction in the community, many will seek first the essential facts regarding its history, progress, and present status; its organization and conduct, departments, officers, teachers, pupils; its material and methods of instruction, courses of study, lesson helps, library, equipment, organized classes, anniversary days; its worship and spiritual power, Sunday-school music, Sunday-school evangelism, the Children’s Church. However important this organization, it should be viewed, nevertheless, not only in its appropriate setting within the church, but also with due regard to proper perspective, as a community force and in its relation to other forces in the community. It is clearly recognized, therefore, that the presentation must include a treatment of allied organizations and movements, both within the church and without, whose object is to provide education in religion, and more broadly speaking, to secure child welfare. Young People’s Societies, the Y. M. C. A., the Y. W. C. A., and the Daily Vacation Bible School Association may be numbered among the more distinctively religious agencies; while the National Child Labor Committee, the Federal Children’s Bureau, the Juvenile Court are examples of constructive and corrective agencies which though not avowedly religious, yet have a distinct bearing upon religious education.

Scientific.—There are informing articles upon many subjects relating to the science of education, the principles upon which religious education must be based, and the approved methods in accordance with which all progress in Sunday-school instruction must be achieved. The contribution of psychology and pedagogy to the work of the Sunday school and to the work of religious education in general, the uses of biography and the scientific adaptation of all means so as to secure definite results in character—all have a place within this work.

Interdenominational.—The encyclopedia is interdenominational in character and contains a comprehensive survey of organizations and methods of educational work in the various denominations in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Other articles deal with the broader aspects of religious education in the United States and in various countries of continental Europe—Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The general statistics regarding church membership and Sunday-school enrollment have been collected with the utmost care by the most reliable expert in this field. No pains have been spared to render them entirely trustworthy.

Impartial.—The work is impartial and free from partisanship. While the chief aim is to exhibit the work of religious education under Christian auspices, appreciative articles are included setting forth the methods of religious education among the Mohammedans, Hindus, Chinese, and Japanese.

Aim.—The Encyclopedia of Sunday Schools and Religious Education aims to serve not only the small minority of people who are already well-informed; it would also furnish genuine help to the rank and file who are engaged in, or interested in, any phase of the work of religious education. It would aid all those who wish to obtain a broad outlook over the entire field, and desire to gain an intelligent grasp of the present problems.

Staff of Contributors.—Over six hundred subjects are treated in the work by a staff of more than three hundred writers, each one an acknowledged specialist in his field. Among the consulting editors are included the editors and educational secretaries of various denominations, and others who have become widely recognized as leaders in religious education, have cordially cooperated in the undertaking.

The Editors.

Volume 1  |  Volume 2  |  Volume 3

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