Beacon Street Diary blog
The International Council of Religious Education
One of the reasons I enjoy cataloging pamphlets is that I frequently encounter titles, authors, or organizations that entice me to research their histories and origins. In the materials we continue to catalog from the collections we received from the Chicago Theological Seminary is a group of pamphlets published by the International Council of Religious Education. We already have some pamphlets from this organization but with this new group, I decided to look into the origins of the Council. What I found is an important organization in the formulation and execution of religious education in the early to mid-twentieth century.
A quick search brought me to the Presbyterian Historical Society's "Guide to the International Council of Religious Education Records, 1839-1953". According to the guide:
"The International Council of Religious Education (hereafter referred to as the ICRE) was formed in 1922 at Kansas City through the merging of the International Sunday School Association and the Sunday School Council of Evangelical Denominations. The International Sunday School Association was created in 1905 to care for the Sunday school conventions which had begun in 1832. The Sunday School Council was organized in 1910 by the officers of denominational boards. The ICRE, consisting of forty denominational boards of religious education and thirty-three state councils of churches and religious education, combined lay and professional strength for closer interdenominational cooperation in Christian education. The ICRE operated under a charter granted by the United States Congress to the International Sunday School Association in 1907."
In 1950, the ICRE joined the National Council of Churches and was incorporated into the Division of Christian Education. While in existence the ICRE consisted of seventeen departments: Children's Work, Young People's Work, Adult Work, Leadership Education and Church School Administration, Family Life Education, Weekday Religious Education, Vacation Religious Education, Visual Education, Lesson Studies, Field Administration, Business and Public Relations, Laymen's Crusade for Christian Education, Ecumenical Education, Radio Education, International Radio Productions, The International Journal of Religious Education, and Education Evangelism.
Here are a few of the titles published by the Council now in our collection:
- Ways to Prepare for Better Leadership by Harry C. Munro
- The Local Church and the Liquor Problem: a Suggested Procedure for a Program of Alcohol Education and Action in the Local Church
- A Guide to a Program of Christian Social Education
- Youth Action in Building a Warless World
- The Religious Education Activities of Three Hundred Pastors
- How to Plan and Conduct a Vacation Church School: a Guide for Administrators and Supervisors in the Organization and Promotion of a Summer Program of the Church