SUNDAY SCHOOLS, meetings or gather ings in which religious instruction is given to children and young people, usually orally and on Sundays. Such schools are sometimes also known as Bible classes, as the Bible is the textbook in frequent use and often the Bible and the Christian doctrine lessons are ar ranged in a catechetical form and hence arises the name of the textbook used, catechism, which is sometimes applied to the class or school using such a book. More commonly, however, a Bible class is one of a series of classes in a Sunday school, frequently being 'a class for adults and older 'scholars. The work of teaching religion to classes or in schools was practised in very ancient times (Gen. xiv, 14) and by the ministers of God, or their ap pointed assistants, whenever conditions were such that the young were not taught in their own homes (Dent. xxxi, 10-13). The study of the law was of obligation; and religious schools existed in connection with the syna gogues. The catechetical method was at first in general use.
Early Christian Doctrine Schools.— The apostles, or certain persons appointed for the work, gave religious instruction to the cate chumens. The religious school, among Chris tians, seems to have had first place; before the books of the Bible were collected as they now exist, the life of Christ had been taught orally. As Christianity extended the schools came under control of the Christians as nearly all the teach ers were Christians, so the religious instruction becarne a part of the regular work of the school. The differences which arose at the time of Luther (q.v.) led to the establishment of classes and schools for teaching the religious beliefs of different churches. In many cases the re ligious teaching was continued in the schools and the new classes formed were for the poor and those, both young and old, who were not well instructed. Luther and his followers established such schools. Saint Charles Bor romeo (q.v.) was one of the most zealous in founding Sunday schools in all parts of his archdiocese of Milan. He succeeded in arous ing the enthusiasm and in securing the co-op eration of the laity, men and women, so that he had a large number of teachers. In order to unite the workers and furnish a means of training them for the work, he established an organization called the *Confraternity of Chris tian Doctrine.° Besides the teachers who were members of this Confraternity, there were also others, who were called Fishers, whose duty was to gather the children and the igno rant and bring them to the places appointed, on Sundays or on week days. At the death of Saint Charles there were in his diocese alone nearly 4,000 members of the Confraternity. They taught in 740 Sunday schools and had over 40,000 pupils. Those receiving religious instruction in the regular schools were not in cluded in this number. This Confraternity still exists. In England there is a large member ship. It was introduced into the United States in 1902 and established in the archdiocese of New York by the Roman Catholic archbishop, Michael Augustine Corrigan.
Modern Sunday Schools.— Robert Raikes (q.v.) of Gloucester, England, is the founder of the modern Protestant Sunday school. He first thought of the work in connection with a number of children of wretched appearance whom he saw playing in the suburb of the city where he lived. He was informed by an in habitant to whom he addressed himself, that on Sundays, when the children were released from work, and the few who enjoyed the bene fit of any instruction during the week were free from school, they presented a more af flicting sight of misery and vice. This obser vation immediately suggested to him the idea that the profanation of the day might be pre vented by keeping them occupied; and he en gaged several women, who kept schools in the neighborhood, to receive such children as he should send to them on Sundays and instruct them in reading and the catechism, paying each of them a shilling for her day's work. He soon collected a considerable nurnber of chil dren, distributed books among them, gave them advice, settled their quarrels. The effects of his benevolent exertions were so beneficial that his example was followed by other charitable persons in different quarters of the city and in a few years Sunday schools were established in almost every part of Great Britain. Railc-es made his first experiment in 1781 and in 1786 it was estimated that 250,000 children were re ceiving instruction in Sunday schools. A Sun
day school society was formed in 1785 and the members were encouraged to give their personal service gratuitously. In 1803 the first Sunday school union was formed in London and the example was soon imitated in many large towns and some of the counties. The Scotch Sab bath schools (first established in Edinburgh in 1787) arose from the English Sunday schools, but from the first were more entirely devoted to religious instruction than the Sunday schools of England_ The first Sunday schools united secular with religious instruction. Sunday schools were established in Protestant churches in Scotland, Ireland and America, in the years immediately Jollowing their establishment in England; the Scotch Society for *Promoting Religious Instruction Among the Poor° was formed in 1796 and the Irish Sunday School Society was founded in 1809, though a system of Sunday teaching had prevailed in Ireland for sotne years previously. In later times Sun day schools increased rapidly . in connection with all Protestant churches throughout the world. The Sunday school movement .was not at first looked upon with favor by the people of New England. It was regarded as a menace to the sacredness of the Sunday (Sabbath) and also as an infringement of the home duties. The Protestant Sunday school, as it exists to-day in the United States, may be said to have had its real beginning in Philadelphia 19 Dec. 1790, when 12 persons held a meeting and decided to begin the work. Sunday schools had been established in the United States shortly after Radices had begun his work but they existed more as local institutions. On 11 Jan. 1791 a society was established in Phila delphia which had for its object the support of Sunday, or °First Day° schools. The presi dent of the society was Bishop William White and Matthew Carey was the secretary. In New York 13 Jan. 1816, a woman's society for the promotion of the work and in the same place, on the 26th of February of the same year, a society of men was organized for the same purpose. The American Sunday School Union is the outgrowth of the Sunday and Adult School Union, established in Philadelphia in 1817. The new and broader organization took definite form 24 May 1824. On the 75th anniversary, the American Sunday School Union had 100,928 Sunday schools with a mem bership of 4,070,346 pupils and 578,680 teachers. It had distributed literature amounting to near $10,000,000. The first national convention was held in Chatham Street Chapel, New York, 3 Oct. 1832. National conventions were held 23 May 1833 and 22 Feb. 1859, in Philadelphia; 29 April 1869, Newark, N. J.; 16 April 1872, Indianapolis, Ind.; 11 May 1875, Baltimore, Md. At the Baltimore meeting the convention took upon itself the name international, to which title it had a right on account of the enlargement of the work both in aim and ter ritory. On 1 July 1889 a world's convention was held in London. Other world's conventions have been held in Saint Louis, Mo., 3 Sept. 1893; London 11 July 1898. The organization embraces, besides the usual executive officers, lesson committees and different department workers. In many of the States are held an nual State conventions, county conventions and city conventions. The department of field workers is most important. In fact their main work is the financing of missionaries in sparsely settled and neglected localities, where they found and foster evangelical but undenomina tional Sunday schools. Morris K. Jesup, who was for many years the president; Gen. 0. 0. Howard, Jay Cooke, William E. Dodge, Louis Klopsch and other prominent men have taken a great interest in the Union's work. In the decade ending 1917, they organized over 17,000 new Sunday schools, reorganized 7,000, besides aiding several thousand public schools. The Chautauqua (q.v.) has been a great aid in the enlargement of the work. In 1908 the Prot estant Sunday schools in the United States, including Hawaii and Porto Rico, numbered 140,739, with a membership of 11,355,000 pupils and officers and teachers numbering 1,505,000. In 1917 the Protestant and miscellaneous Sun day schools had over 19,000,000 scholars en rolled and the Roman Catholic schools 2,850, 000 more; the Methodist group was the largest, comprising 7,000,000 scholars ; the Baptist group followed with 3,800,000; Presbyterian, 2,000, 000; Lutheran, 1,000,000; Disciples, 940,000; Congregationalist, 750,000; and Episcopal, Re formed and United Brethren, each nearly 500, 000.