Taking inspiration from the Old Testament story of King Joash who rebuilt the temple (2 Kings 12), in the early decades of the 20th century official fundraising days were being celebrated in Methodist Episcopal Churches (and other groups).   The business of the church was often made of prosaic things like paying bills, honoring debts, and trying to move the church forward, sometimes in spite of the giving habits of a congregation.  As one early writer noted people might spend in a night at the opera more than they give in a year to evangelize the world...
In this section from an annual church directory of Wesley Methodist Church in Oklahoma City there is evidence of the use of this "Joash Day" approach.  It was outlined in a 1910 article , "The Chest of Joash" in the Expositor and Current Anecdotes, a resource for illustrations, church development, and sermons for ministers by Rev. Alfred Peache of 49th Avenue M.E. Church, Chicago, Illinois.

Spiritual: - The inculcation of the spirit of Christ in the hearts and lives of all members of Wesley church; an atmosphere of warmth and inspiration in all our worship services; an encouragement of all to develop the habit and practice of daily prayer and meditation or worship; observance of the Lord’s Supper in our church at least once a quarter; the honoring of Christ in our daily lives as an expression of our appreciation of the worth of our Christian faith; and a practical, consistent fulfilment of this solemn vow, voluntarily assumed when we united with the church:

“I WILL BE LOYAL to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and uphold it by my prayers, my presence, my gifts and my services.”

Educational: - The efficient organization of the Church School, with consecrated leadership for all departments, and interested, competent teachers for all classes; training classes for young people and adults; all members of the church and constituency, as well, encouraged to attend Sunday School and Church Services; a purpose to make available the resources and facilities of our church to the young people attending college and under the leadership of the Youth Fellowship Department; training in Stewardship; a Preparatory Membership Class to train children in a proper way the duties and privileges of church membership; a wider recognition of the Boy Scout Organization and Camp Fire Girls; --an alert, informed church membership.

Social:- A warm, cordial welcome to all visitors and strangers in our worship services; cooperation of the entire membership with the ladies organizations when Church Family functions are had; social and recreational plans, class and departmental parties for children and young people and adults, properly supervised; fellowship dinners; all men of the church encouraged to affiliate with and lend support to the Wesley Men’s Dinner Club; an annual Father and Son Banquet, a Mother and Daughter Banquet; a renewal of the activities and a continuation of the program of the Greater Wesley Movements; an adequate plan to meet the social and recreational demands of our whole membership.

Financial: - EVERY MEMBER encouraged to support the church in proportion as God prospers him; a pledge from Every Member of the church, for some definite amount, to be paid into the treasury regularly each week, if possible – such pledges to continue until modified or discontinued by those making same; all bills against the church paid promptly and in full, as nearly as possible; a regular Pay-Up Sunday once each quarter. When all who are in arrears shall be urged to pay such delinquencies, and when the church may meet all its outstanding obligations; the organization of a Fellowship of Giving members whose members shall be encouraged to practice the three fold giving of Possessions, Personality and Prayer; the re-selling of our membership on the beauty, the adequacy, and the permanency of our magnificent Wesley Church, and the beginning of a plan to liquidate our indebtedness; the observance of Joash Day[1], when all who can will be asked to make special contributions to our Building Fund – a happy, successful, debt-free church.

Your Minister,
Matt L. Simpson

[Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church. Directory & Yearbook. 1935-36. Wesley Methodist Church Membership Directory and Yearbook for the church year, 1935-36. S. Lewis Stockwell, Editor and publishers.]

[1]  Alfred Peache. “The Chest of Joash”. The Expositor, and current anecdotes. (April 1910, volume 11) p.372f. This article had outlined a special day for fundraising with special preaching, a march using a polished wooden chest.  It was seen again an article by Wm.S. Mitchell, “How One Church Paid Its Debt.” The Expositor, (July 1919, XX:10)pg.1-3.


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