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History

Scripture Union was born one summer evening in London in 1867. A young British office worker, Josiah Spiers, took a group of children from his Sunday School to a special meeting, conducted by an American named Payson Hammond. There were hundreds of children there and the service was unlike any other Spiers had even seen. The children were lively and enjoying themselves--and they could actually understand the teachings of the Bible! Spiers was greatly impressed with this lively, informal and effective approach to ministry to children. Soon, with the help of others, he began holding regular services for children with attendance in the hundreds. The Children's Special Service Mission (CSSM) (which later became Scripture Union) was born. 

Beach Programs Begin

The next summer Spiers was vacationing at the beach in Llandudno, Wales. As he watched some children making a garden of stones and seaweed in the sand, it occurred to him that the children could just as easily be making a Bible text. He was clearly concerned that the children should hear about Jesus, and how much God loved them. Calling the children around him, he began writing "God is Love" in the sand. Spiers encouraged them to decorate the letters with shells and sea weed. As the children played, he told them stories about Jesus. These beach programs were a vital step forward for Spiers and the CSSM, enabling him to make contact with wealthier families who could help fund this effort and giving him needed publicity. Soon after, he began receiving invitations to hold children's special services around the country and the CSSM began to grow. Spiers stayed in leadership of this new ministry for forty years until his death.

SU in Over 130 Countries

From those humble beginnings, Scripture Union spread around the world. Today Scripture Union is active in over 130 countries worldwide, still working to introduce children and young people to Jesus and promote regular, serious Bible reading. The aims of SU are achieved in a wide range of ways appropriate to the country, culture and situation in each country. Movements in different countries or continents may run camps, school seminars, Primary and Secondary Bible study groups for students, produce Bible reading materials and other resources for churches, offer family counseling, education about AIDS, training for churches and children's workers, and minister to urban children and youth or the handicapped.

SU is primarily a volunteer organization with a small number of staff who train, encourage and coordinate the many ministry workers worldwide. Scripture Union in each country is an autonomous organization. Scripture Union/USA, like each of the 130 movements, is governed by its own Board of Directors which meets three times annually. All Scripture Union movements and linked together by shared principles and a common calling. For more information about Scripture Union please visit the "Working Principles" page. For other information, please contact the office of SU/USA at info@scriptureunion.org or 1-800-621-LAMP.

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