Catechization in the Reformed Church. I.

Contributor

Educating the children in Christian faith has always been a high priority and necessity in the church. Teaching them the confession was the core of the educational process. The religious education was started by parents at home. They must have had sufficient religious knowledge to teach the basics to their children. This was called private catechetical education. In addition to this, the church also provided a deeper, so-called public confessional education to the children. This was taken care of by ministers, primarily in the church building during the afternoon regular church service for both children and adults. During wintertime, when it was too cold for teaching in the church building, ministers gathered the children in their own houses. When children were grown to the school age, the regular denominational school took over the educational tasks and started to teach, beside the regular disciplines, religious subjects too in greater details. The examination of the children took place in the church building publicly, in the presence of the congregation, under the leading of the local minister, or by the dean of the classis during the regular annual inspection in the congregation. During the examination with the attendance of the local congregation, the leader of the inspection often also sized-up the congregation’s confessional knowledge, posing questions from the catechism even to some adult members of the congregation. This mode of examination of the children is more effective – according to the church regulation. The educational system was based entirely on the Christian teaching that by these means penetrated deeply into various levels of the society.