BETHESDA METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH (PHILADELPHIA,
PA.) SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHERS ASSOCIATION.
MANUSCRIPT NUMBER 130
REPRODUCTION: Photocopying not permitted due to condition of binding.
COPYRIGHT: Information on copyright (literary rights) available from repository.
CITATION: Bethesda Methodist Church Sabbath School Teacher's Association Minutes, MSS 130, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Sabbath schools (or Sunday schools) in America made their first appearance shortly after the American Revolution. The first one was probably organized in Hanover County, Virginia in 1786 by Francis Asbury. The Methodists were the first to adopt the Sabbath school as official policy, encouraging their establishment at or near places of worship in 1790. The early Sabbath schools were largely efforts to give children of poor working-class families a chance to become educated in both basic reading and religion and at the same time to control their perceived misbehavior on the Sabbath. In the 1830s they became a way of evangelizing and educating young children in important Christian truths and principles.
During the decades before the Civil War, many Sabbath school societies were formed. The American Sunday School Union was organized in Philadelphia in 1817. It was followed by several denominational societies. The Massachusetts Sunday School Union (Congregationalists and Baptists) was formed in 1825, the Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union the following year, and the Methodist Episcopal counterpart the year after. The first national convention of Sunday school workers was held in New York City in 1832.
This is a handwritten folio book of minutes of the Bethesda Methodist
Church Sabbath School Teacher's Association. The book contains the meeting
minutes of the school for the years 1840-1842, as well as a ledger of accounts
dated 1843. Also included are reports from church meetings held in the
summer of 1842, one newspaper clipping, and a list of names dated March