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Robert Raikes,1736-1811, Sunday School Movement


Written by: Unknown    Posted on: 03/17/2003

Category: Biographies

Source: CCN

Robert Raikes 1736-1811 Sunday School, the greatest lay movement since Pentecost, was founded by a layman. Robert Raikes was the crusading editor of Gloucester Journal. After becoming frustrated with ineffi- cient jail reforms, Raikes was convinced vice could be better prevented than cured. While visiting in the slum section of the city, he was distressed with the corruption of children. Raikes shared the problem with Rev. Thomas Stock in the vil- lage of Ashbury, Berkshire. They conceived of a school to be taught on the best available time--Sunday. They decided to use the available manpower--laymen. The curriculum would be the Word of God, and they aimed at reaching the children of the street, not just the children of church members.         The movement began in July, 1780, when Mrs. Meredith conducted a school in her home on Souty Alley. Only boys at- tended, and she heard the lessons of the older boys who coached the younger. Raikes wrote four of the textbooks, but the Bible was the core of the Sunday School. Later, girls were allowed to attend. Raikes shouldered most of the finan- cial burden in those early years.         Within two years, several schools opened in and around Gloucester. On November 3, 1783, Raikes published an account of Sunday School in the columns of his paper. Excite- ment spread. Next, publicity was given the Sunday School in Gentlemen's Magazine, and a year later Raikes wrote a letter to the Armenian Magazine.         Raikes died in 1811. By 1831, Sunday School in Great Britain was ministering weekly to 1,250,000 children, approx- imately 25 percent of the population.



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