In keeping with our occasional look back on the history of our church this year, below is an interesting excerpt from the 1948 Anniversary book celebrating the first 100 years of First Congregational Church.
“The Sunday School was organized in The Melrose Depot on 1848, having but a few scholars, and was under the leadership of James L. Crossett. From the time when the school moved to the Church vestry, which was before the edifice was entirely completed, under Dr. Levi Gould as superintendent it prospered until its membership is recorded in 1902 as being 558, divided into primary, junior and senior departments.
About 1897 a home department was organized. This consisted of such persons as could not easily attend the Sunday School sessions but received the quarterlies used in the school, agreeing to study the lesson at least a half hour each week. In connection with this department were twenty-four messenger boys and a “Sunshine Band” of thirty-three members, making the total of the school 766. Also in 1897 it was found that the chapel was not large enough to accommodate all of the different departments so that the intermediate department met in the church auditorium. After the chapel building was enlarged the Sunday School was able to occupy its new quarters in November of 1900.
In more recent years, the Sunday School has become highly departmentalized and instead of existing as a separate unit has become the school of the church, hence called the Church School. The office of superintendent is still on of importance, but the work of that office is synchronized with that of full-time trained workers known as Directors of Religious Education. In many churches, as in our own, there is a Committee of Religious Education.”
The accompanying pictures here help to give a sense of the thriving Church School program during the war years of the 1940s. All of this is a wonderful legacy that is carried on today when, each Sunday, the children and youth depart for their classes after the Children’s Sermon during worship.
See you in church,