The Department of Religious Education, originally named the Department of Sabbath School, was one of the original departments of the Church of God and Saints of Christ, under the specific instruction of our Re-establisher, Prophet William Saunders Crowdy.
The primary function of this department was to encourage the members to study the Bible so that they would become more informed about their duties to God and their fellowman. Each member was urged to study, learn and pass basic lessons such as: The Disciple’s Prayer, the blessing, the Books of the Bible, and the Hebrew Months. Other lessons were also studied and passed which were taken from the publication known as “The Bible Story Revealed” by Prophet William S. Crowdy.
The Sabbath School scholars, as they were referred to, were very enthusiastic about Bible study. Some of the lessons in “The Bible Story Revealed”, had as many as seventy (70) precepts, and scholars learned all these precepts, their scripture references, and the commentaries. The scholars then appeared before a Board of Examiners, consisting of a judge, (the overseer) the superintendent, and two (2) other persons appointed by the superintendent, to pass a lesson. The examinee was to recite orally the lesson to be passed. These lessons, along with several additional ones, are now included in the Sabbath School Curriculum and the method for passing lessons still exist.
When the Sabbath School Department was initially instituted by our Re-establisher, classes were conducted on the Sabbath in the late afternoon, following choir rehearsal. The Local Pastor would announce that it was time for Sabbath School and the superintendent would take charge of the session. Following a brief devotional period, the superintendent would have the scholars go to their respective classes and the teachers would begin the lesson for the day.
Today, the Sabbath School is conducted on the Sabbath in the morning, approximately from 9:15 – 10:30. This change was instituted by Rabbi Levi S. Plummer, with approval from Rabbi Howard Z. Plummer, Grand Father Abraham.
Originally, the Department of Religious Education consisted of General and District Officers. However in January of 2018 the department was restructured to create two areas of focus; Oversight and Operations. This restructure established a framework to provide more dynamic leadership in the areas of formalized education and training, tools, materials, and other resources to the local Sabbath School, as well as to officers at all levels of the Department of Religious Education.