Saturday, July 08, 2006

This Week in Texas Methodist History--July 9

Texas-Louisiana Institute Meets At Southwestern July, 1936

Pastoral Education has been a continuing thread of Texas Methodist history. By the late 19th century annual conferences and districts were holding yearly institutes for that purpose. Pastors attended, took courses, and were awarded certificates upon completion of those courses. Over the years the institutes became more elaborate. Courses for laity (often clergy spouses) were added in church school pedagogy and missions. A major function of the publishing arm of the church came to be supplying materials for these institutes.

The Texas-Louisiana Institute was a program of the Gulf Conference of the MEC. Its usual location was Blinn College in Brenham, but hardships of the Depression caused the church to lose Blinn. In 1936 the Institute was held at Southwestern University in Georgetown. The program provides an interesting glimpse into pastoral education of the 1930s.

The courses consisted of
Bible: a. Heroes of the New Testament
b. Attitudes of Jesus
Personal Problems: a. Building the Devotional Life
b. The Christian's Sharing Life
c. Christian Marriage and Home
d. Hobbies and Avocations
Leadership: a. Improving Church School Teaching
b. Building a Pleasing Personality
c. the Daily Vacation Bible School
General: a. Epworth Leaguers Building a Better World
b. The Hymns We Sing
c. Win-My-Chum Evangelism
d. The Romance of Methodism

The afternoon was devoted to rest and organized recreation. The evening provided opportunities for entertainment, worship, and small prayer groups. The prices reflected the hard times of the Depression. Registration for the entire program was $1.00. A dorm room and three meals per day cost $1.50 per day.

Leading members of the conference including C. W, Berquist, H. M. Hopkins, John Deschner, and Ben Lemberg managed the Institute. They provided a useful week of spiritual renewal, fellowship, and intellectual growth.


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