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A CELEBRATION FOR THE CENTENNIAL OF
COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY
IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
One hundred years ago the missionary work of the Church was started in a definitely organized and coordinated manner. Fifty years ago the cooperation in that work of the women of the Church was similarly coordinated and organized as a part of it. The Mission of the Church has been written for general use on the occasion of this Centennial and Semicentennial. It is a religious service, constructed according to the laws of the lyric drama. It will be found to be suitable for presentation in the Church itself. Indeed, it can be properly presented only in the Church. In writing it, there has continually been borne in mind the possibility for eliminations and amplifications such as would make it practicable for use in any Church, large or small, urban or rural, whether as simple and plain as an Upper Room or architecturally as glorious as the greatest Cathedral. Within the fixed plan of its structure, and obedient to the main flow of the feeling as determined by the spoken words, allowance is made, as is necessary, for a very wide degree of liberty in order to conform to local conditions, in the number and character of the personnel and in the detail of the dramatic action. Thus, for example, while in the text, for the sake of being definite, the Foreign Mission Field is represented by the Chinese, in any Parish, if preferred, that Field can be represented by the Japanese, by the Liberians, by the Filipinos, by the Cubans, by the Mexicans, or by the Eskimos. So too the number used may be large or small according to the size of
the Church and the number available to take the parts. Finally the details of the very simple dramatic action called for will be somewhat different according to the manners and customs of the people chosen to stand for the two great Mission Fields, the Domestic and the Foreign.
The speaking and the reading are confined to only three persons, the three Voices that represent three elements or aspects of religious life, the Voice of Divine Mediation, the Word of God, and the Appeal of the Human Spirit. The parts of the attendant Angels can and should be omitted in smaller Churches. The parts of the Missionaries and of those to whom Missionaries are sent may be enacted, as has been said, by smaller or by larger numbers. These matters are given attention in a pamphlet on the producing, as also such matters as Lighting and Costuming. In this pamphlet also is included copy for a simple programme, which may be printed locally in whatever quantity may be desirable, and distributed through the Congregation.
The Mission of the Church emphasizes in the occasion of this Centennial and Semicentennial, the significance of the missionary work of the Church, the immediate touch it gives with the need of humanity and with the hope in Christianity, and the direct application of the missionary responsibility to ourselves both as individuals and as a Church. It is earnestly hoped that in doing this it may render a real and practical service to every Parish and to every Mission in the Church. W. C. L.
Bronxville, New York,
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Almighty God, Who art the only Poet and true Artist of the Universe, Who dost write across the centuries of Time the Drama of Human Development, and before Whom continually passes the Pageant of the Generations: We offer to Thee for Thy blessing this celebration of the mission work of Thy Church, as with praise to Thee we look back upon the hundred years now brought to a close, and with prayer look forward to the hundreds of years into which we are just entering. Forgive in Thy Fatherly goodness all that falls short in this offering of worship; and bless what is good in it to a greater measure of service than without Thy blessing it could possibly attain. Use it, magnify it, perfect it, we pray Thee, as we each of us do our parts, to the glory of Thy Name, to the wider spread of Thy Love throughout the Church and throughout the world, and to the hastening of the day when Thy Will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven, through the power of the Only Perfect Word, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.