'As I love dear, old England, I do not believe she will ever perish. No, Britain! thou shalt never perish,
for the flag of old England is nailed to the mast by the prayers of Christians,
by the efforts of Sunday Schools, and her pious men.'
Charles H. Spurgeon
The Sunday School Is Marching Forward!
‘We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.’ Psalm 78v4
On the 16 May, shop owners on High Street, Blackheath, and residents from along the parade route came to the streets to view a scene from history. A Sunday School Parade made up of children from the local area and throughout England converged on Rowley Reigs, West Midlands.
Events of the day began with a service of thanksgiving at 11.30am at Beeches Road Baptist Chapel. Several years ago, the chapel had fallen into disuse until an outreach Sunday School was started, enabling a church-plant to begin. Many today believe the evangelistic Sunday School to be a relic of the past, but it has proven to be resilient, and even in difficult times, it remains a fruitful work. In spite of modern challenges, several Sunday Schools throughout the country are growing and more are being started, bringing children to the Lord Jesus. The purpose of the Sunday School Day was to bring this great outreach back to the forefront as one of the most effective evangelistic arms of the local church.
During the service, the children sang hymns that they had been practicing. Special recognition was made of each of the ten Sunday Schools participating and their faithful workers. Mr Chris Cooper gave a clear gospel message with colourful visual aids. The children, young and old, listened intently to the message from Proverbs about the urgency of trusting Christ in one’s youth.
At the conclusion of the service, each Sunday School, many with beautiful banners to represent them, gathered with anticipation in the car park to organise for the parade. The route would take them through residential areas and along the High Street to the local park where a picnic lunch awaited them.
Police officers led the way to ensure safety and close off the parade route to traffic. A marching band, organised by Pastor Roland Burrows, struck off the rousing notes to ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ The Sunday Schools lifted their banners, fluttering in the spring breeze, and fell in step behind the band, marching as they went, many volunteering to pass gospel leaflets to onlookers along the way.
God blessed the day with glorious weather and protection. Upon reaching the park, everyone gathered for a picnic and then an exciting sports competition. Traditional games such as the egg and spoon race, sack race, tug-of-war and others allowed the children to try for their own gold, silver or bronze medal.
The day concluded with an award ceremony. Top athletes received their medals with broad smiles. After a parting prayer, everyone was on their way by 3.00pm.
Organisers of the event were encouraged to see many more children and workers in attendance than last year. What a blessing to see a reviving in the Sunday School works in may churches. During May of next year, God willing, the Crown Christian Heritage Trust, which planned the Sunday School Day, would like to see the same event take place in additional areas of the country as well.
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May God continue to raise up workers who will reach the coming generation with the truth of the gospel.
James Zenker, Pastor