From our Past: The importance of Bible Schools
The July 1924 Advocate included a notice from the Little Rock ecclesia noting the success of the Arkansas Bible School the prior year and announcing the intention of holding the school again.
ARKANSAS BIBLE SCHOOL
To the Christadelphians Everywhere,
Dear Brethren and Sisters: As you will remember from reports appearing in our magazines, a very successful Bible School, the first of its kind in the history of the truth at this period, was held at Martinville, Arkansas, from July 18th to August 2nd, 1923. It was voted by the brethren at their Fraternal Gathering following the School last year, that the School be held again in the year 1924. The date of the School this year is to be from July 30th to August 13th. This is to be followed by the Fraternal Gathering August 14th to 17th.
As the time for the School is drawing nearer, we would urge upon the Ecclesias in the United States and Canada, that each Ecclesia send at least one delegate, and as many more as possible, to visit the School at Martinville, Arkansas the coming summer. We are sure that if the work, together with its results, can be seen and known, others will wish to establish similar Schools in their respective localities, or at such places as would be accessible to the greatest number.
Trusting that an interest may be awakened in this work, and with love for God, love for the truth as it is in Jesus, and love for perishing humanity, we are:
THE ARKANSAS COMMITTEE
John R. Frazer, Sec.-Treas.
A. O. U. W. Bldg., Little Rock, Ark.
(The Christadelphian Advocate and Fellow-Labourer, July 1924, p. 220)
The notice is a reminder that, for many of us, Bible Schools are staples of life. They are annual experiences of fellowship, joy, learning, and spiritual refreshment in a dark world. Bible School are where many believers put on the saving name of Christ, made lifelong friends, and met spouses. For younger members of our community, they are an opportunity to meet peers. Sadly, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic many schools are suspended for the year. This is an important loss for our community.
However, the central point of the notice concerning the 1924 Arkansas Bible School was to encourage brothers and sisters from across the continent to attend in the hopes that attendants “establish similar Schools” in their respective localities. This notice was more than an invitation. It was a call to action.
Each of us and every ecclesia can act for the betterment of our community and the furthering of the spread of the Truth. We have in front of us today the parallel of this call to hold Bible Schools. As Arkansas was an example to others to start Bible Schools, the initiative and service of many ecclesias by offering distance meetings and classes should inspire more of us to act.
More ecclesias could extend remote access to Sunday schools and weeknight classes. Share materials from your personal library: Sunday school lessons for teenagers, craft ideas for young ones, or study notes would benefit many. Record lectures and slides. Think of those you will not be seeing this year. We have the easy ability to contact the more vulnerable brothers and sisters and to check on their health and spiritual wellbeing.
We are without our schools this year, but we do not have to act isolated.