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A review of

teaching and training
among Texas Baptists prior to 1920 lists few women's names; L. R. Elliott, ed., Centennial Story of Texas Baptists (Chicago: Hammond Press, 1936), p. 307-320. women were the "foot soldiers" of the movement for religious education in local churches, while men held the officer posts. But we know that women taught in Thomas Pilgrim's first Baptist Sunday school in 1829 J. M. Carroll, A History of Texas Baptists (Dallas: Baptist Standard Publishing Co., 1923), p. 41. and that a woman named Piety Hadley
assisted, rather led the way in organizing the first Sunday-school in the [Houston] church
in the 1840s. J. B. Link, Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine (Austin, Texas, 1891-92), II, 247. By the 1890s women not only taught in Sunday schools, they sometimes directed them. A man was still considered a more appropriate director, but
if you have not a man with the piety and backbone to become your superintendent, secure a lady, an intelligent Christian woman. She will make things lively,
advised a Baptist Standard editorial of 1893. BS , February 16, 1893, p. 2. Women also participated in Sunday school conventions and training normals more freely than they did in other denominational gatherings of both sexes, these clearly falling in the "informal" category of church meetings. Such participation indicated more than the fact that they had
slipped through the ranks
however—it was a clear recognition of their competence in the field of education.

Through their state-wide organization, Baptist Women Mission Workers, women perfected graded programs for mission study for girls and boys and held training institutes that put the male-run Sunday school program to shame.

The redemption of our Sunday schools from confusion and inefficiency waits upon women who have received adequate special training,
declared Waco pastor J. M. Dawson in 1913, BS , June 19, 1913, p. 11. but men remained in firm control of directoral roles and board positions. Within local churches men were also generally the titular heads of the Sunday school program, with women assisting as directors of all but adult departments.

The religious education of Texas Baptist children included Bible study, of course, and, in the special "bands" organized by missionary societies, information about-Baptist missions. A great emphasis was placed on stewardship and the need of children to give systematically even if that consisted of daily setting aside one egg in a

missionary basket
to be sold for a missionary contribution. TBH , May 22, 1884, p. 4. Moral instruction—from ethics to etiquette—was another fit topic for children's edification. Around the turn of the century
training unions
became popular, first for young adults, then filtering down to younger ages. These classes included practice in speaking and evangelistic techniques, which eventually developed into popular oratorical and Bible-knowledge contests. Training unions were co-educational and provided young women with more "informal" opportunities to participate equally with men in near-worship settings. They maintained the acceptable legalistic formula designating subjection—usually young men served as presidents—but young women were allowed to hold other offices, give devotional talks to mixed audiences, even to win
sword drills
if their command of the Scriptures was superior.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Patricia martin's phd thesis. OpenStax CNX. Dec 12, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11462/1.1
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