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|Appendix V:||General Decree for the Private Schools of the Sommerfelder Men-|
nonite Congregation in Southern Manitoba, Canada.
This is a translation from the original German "Allgemeine Schulverordnung fur den Privatschulen der Sommerfelder Mennoniten Gemeinde in Slid-Manitoba Canada". The Altona Printery, (translated by Wm. J. Kehler, 1984.)
The Altona Printery.
''And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make Thee wise unto Salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" II Timothy 3:15. This is the main object and responsibility in life. - The testimony given to our ancestor Abraham by God in Genesis 18:19 "For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgement", is well worth following. To impress this on future generations it is of utmost importance that this happen in our schools, the origin of Christianity where the Lord's lambs will be grazed in green pastures.
Our prayer to God is that we may be worthy of our claim to be the defenceless and pacifist people in the country.
We are called a Christian people who migrated from Europe, and as had been the aim of the clergy in Russia, we deem it important that we continue to instruct the importance of striving for the Kingdom of God, and experience has taught us that we should not neglect to teach our children here in America, to bring them to Jesus who is still beckoning "suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not", Math. 19:14. Thus, we find it important to plant the seed of Christian faith in our children early, by instructing them in our schools according to scripture. Towards this end our government has given us a free hand, provided we maintain our own schools, and they have wished us well in bringing up our children in a Christian way. Next to God we are grateful to our government for the privilege of raising our children according to the creed of our religious principles, so that we may grow into a people that are indeed worthy of our name.
Therefore, the clergy have decided to draw up a set of basic regulations on which the schools are to operate, as follows:
1. Any teacher must be a member in good standing of a church, of a reputable character and a good example to his pupils. It is of utmost importance that he act in a sober and well behaved manner whenever he meets his pupils outside the classroom, so as not to undo the benefit of the good lessons he taught them during classes. It is therefore the duty of the teacher to act in a manner to deserve the love and respect of the pupils. That would be a fertile dew on the seed he has sown.
2. School is to be opened and concluded with song and prayer. Prayer is to be said out loud in unison with the pupils, so as to give them practice in praying. The songs are to be selected from our church hymnary. The teacher is further required to instruct singing, but only in the most humble fashion.
Unison singing only is permitted, otherwise we might be drawn away from our humility. That we could easily make an idol similar to the golden calf of the Israelites, can be seen in the Christmas tree, which seems to become more acceptable and may already have become an idol with many. Since God will not share His glory with any idol as it is clearly written in the second commandment "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image", therefore, the teacher shall under no circumstances be permitted to set up such a tree.
3. After opening the class with song and prayer, the teacher shall instruct reading and writing in the morning and reading and arithmetic in the afternoon. In reading, the teacher is expected to pay particular attention to correct pronunciation and punctuation. Writing is to be done with German or Latin letters. To instill an air of competition in the class, the teacher