Less than 1 per cent of children aged four to fourteen attend a Sunday school regularly. This compares with 60 years ago, when 58 per cent of children in England attended a Sunday school at least monthly.
However, to imagine that Sunday school is dead would be a terrible mistake. In recent months, several schools have been reopened where at one time few children were being reached in their community.
On 17 May, a special Sunday school rally was held in the West Midlands, at Beeches Road Baptist Chapel in Blackheath, Rowley Regis. Eleven different Sunday schools were represented from the local area, as well as others from as far away as Exeter and Brighton.
The main floor of the chapel was filled, while others gathered in the gallery with children and Christian workers, as the gospel was ministered and children sang familiar hymns.
Nearly 250 people joined together for the day, to give thanks to God for the blessings of the evangelistic Sunday school and encourage one another in this important work.
After the service concluded, each group organised together for a parade, with a marching band, through the streets of Blackheath. One local pastor said, ‘It is just like the old days’. Police and council members commented on how encouraging it was to see children come out. They were surprised that so many young people were involved in this event.
Historic Sunday school banners, some of which had not been displayed since the Second World War, were waving in the beautiful sunny weather.
After the parade concluded in a local park, a lovely picnic was provided, followed by a sport competition. Children enjoyed the egg and spoon races, foot races, relays and other games. At the end, children participated in an award ceremony, receiving gold, silver and bronze medals for their achievements in the competitions.
Several workers attending commented that it was very encouraging for the children from their churches to see so many others involved in Sunday schools.
The Crown Christian Heritage Trust sponsored the event. It exists to advance the Christian heritage of Great Britain to the coming generation. Beeches Road Baptist Chapel itself was scheduled for closure not so long ago, until an evangelistic Sunday school was restarted.
Now, not only is a thriving children’s ministry operating, but also a growing church. God has graciously enabled closed chapels in Oxford and Brighton to reopen recently.
God willing, plans are being made to hold the event in Blackheath again next year.
Beeches Road Baptist Chapel