Postal Sunday Schools
A Gray, Dublin
For many years the advantages of Sunday School work have been appreciated and most assemblies have risen to their responsibility to reach the girls and boys in their district with the message of the Gospel. The Sunday School has in many cases been supplemented by a weeknight children’s meeting where more youngsters have heard the Word.
The value of this work is clearly seen. To-day many believers, if not saved during their youth, can look back to their Sunday School days as the time when they were first awakened to their need of salvation. It need not therefore be emphasised that the work among the young is of primary importance. How- ever we are not alone in recognising this. Roman Catholicism, Communism and many other “isms” are making determined efforts to captivate the minds of the young of today, those who will be the men and women of tomorrow.
Are we satisfied with what we are doing to reach the lower age groups? It is a known fact that we are reaching only a fraction of the communities in which we live. There are, in addition, many children on housing estates where there is no testimony while many others live in rural areas and find it impossible to reach a Sunday School. It is to bring to your notice a means of reaching these children that this article has been written.
It is now almost thirty years since believers in New Zealand, being conscious of the great need, commenced the Postal Sunday School movement. Over the succeeding years the work has grown and many thousands of boys and girls have been taught the truth as they have studied the postal lessons. Many have been saved, baptised and brought into assembly fellow- ship as a result of sowing the seed in this way. Some former scholars are now on the mission field and the work has spread to other parts of the world. Four grades of lessons are used in this school together with a monthly magazine.
Coming nearer home, it was in 1958 that a similar work began in the Irish Republic, a land where assemblies have dwindled due to the decrease of the Protestant population since the days of the Irish rebellion. Nevertheless there was a growing concern for the spiritual needs of the children in the country areas who could not be reached by normal methods.
So the postal school was started with the issue of a quarterly magazine which offered correspondence courses for young ones. The response was slow at first but numbers gradually grew. The course used proved insufficient and the workers in New Zealand agreed to their lessons being adapted as necessary to meet local needs. Three grades of lessons are in use and hundreds of young ones have made use of them. At present there are over eight hundred scholars, and there has been evidence of the Lord’s blessing. More recently a course specially for Roman Catholic families has been brought into use serving some two hundred children.
A postal school has been operated in connection with the “Tell Yorkshire” work as a follow up to the summer tent campaigns and other activities. “Adventurer” leaflets, produced by the C.S.S.M., are used initially and those who show promise are transferred to the Emmaus courses.
In the north-east, the Border Counties school has a willing band of helpers who prepare lessons, as well as typing and duplicating them. Children are contacted by circularising homes in the rural areas.
In Kent a similar school is operated to provide for the children in that area and also to supply the Irish lessons and magazine to any assemblies or individuals who have a burden for the children in their locality.
Workers in Middlesex have recently commenced postal work for children on housing estates where there is no school. The initial response has been encouraging, the best results coming as a result of door to door personal invitation.
In the north there is great scope for such work because of the scattered population and the lack of evangelical witness. Some who labour in those parts have been using postal lessons to reach some two hundred youngsters contacted during the course of their Gospel work.
A group of young believers from Swansea visited Ireland in the summer of 1965 and were inspired by what they saw of the postal work. On their return home they commenced a similar work with the full fellowship of their assemblies,, and this is meeting a great need in South Wales. Using lessons supplied from Ireland they reach many through the distribution of handbills, especial help being given by the Mobile Unit.
There may be many other similar activities carried on in fellowship with assemblies in the British Isles which are unknown to the authors, but it is evident that there is much more scope for more outreach of this kind. It is not easy - scholars can only be obtained by hard work, and there can be no slackness in the marking of lessons, etc.
There must be many believers who could share in this type of work in their own homes and at times convenient to them- selves. Those already engaged in it would be glad to give help and advice to any who are interested, while the schools in Ireland and Kent would be happy to supply lessons and magazines.