(3) Theory and practice of teaching.
(4) Lectures in physiology, nursing, health, tropical diseases, surgical work, and a short course of nursing at the Mildmay Medical Mission Hospital, keeping of accounts, sol-fa singing, cooking, and laundry.
The directress, Mrs. Tottenham, thus describes the necessary qualification for candidates for deaconess work.
The probation and student houses, situated in the compound, first receive the candidates, who remain for one month on probation. If they like the work and are considered suitable for it, they remain for a period not exceeding two years. The time varies according to the previous knowledge which the students possess. Part of their time is spent in theological study, and they attend classes for cutting out, needlework, cooking, and other practical subjects. They also engage in parochial work under experienced workers.
After leaving the student house for the central deaconess house, candidates work, as a rule, in the mission for two or three years longer before they are regarded as qualified to be Mildmay deaconesses.
The Nurses' Home has a pleasant frontage to Newington Green, and is the most historic portion of the settlement.
There is a staff of fifty nurses attached to the house, who are sent out to private cases.
The Memorial Hospital stands in another part of the grounds, a beautiful and well-equipped little building erected by friends and co-workers to the memory of the Rev. W. Pennefather, founder of the mission, and by Lady Hay in memory of her son. It has ten beds for men, ten for women, and six cots for the poor in the Mildmay missions. There are three private wards for paying patients.
The Founders' Lodge is a pleasant home which has been erected near to the hospital. Visitors who wish for a period of rest and spiritual refreshment amongst the Mildmay workers are also received as boarders in this house.
The illuminations and publications departments afford the visitor to Mildmay an interesting glimpse into the artistic, literary, and business side of the settlement. The organ of the movement is " Service for the King," a monthly magazine. The beautiful illuminated texts, mottoes, and greeting cards designed and painted at Mildmay are known all over the world.
The Mildmay Training Home, " The Willows," is at Stoke Newington. This is for the preparation of students for home and foreign work.
The Mildmay Mission Hospital, in Austin Street, Bethnal Green, is the centre of a most useful and beneficent work amongst the very poor of East London. There are fifty beds devoted to the needs of destitute patients. A medical mission is held at the hospital on Tuesday and Friday, beginning with a short mission service. There is an average attendance of 150. On other days some 80 or 100 out-patients come for dressings. Patients are also visited in their own homes.
The attention of one of the deaconesses was called to a family who had lately removed to her district. The man and his wife were steady Christian people. They had seven children. The eldest boy (away from home on a training ship) sent them ten shillings per month, the second, earning eight shillings per week, gave his mother five or six shillings per week, keeping a little for clothes. The rent was seven shillings a week, and, through the father being out of work, had fallen into arrears.
When the deaconess called she found the family in great distress, without food or fire. "The children never worry me for food, miss, if I haven't any for them," said the mother, " but just say their prayers as usual when they go to bed."
She was very grateful for a little help given. A few days later a gift of butter came to Mildmay from the Country House Mission, and the deaconess took a quarter of a pound to this poor family as a special treat.
A Pathetic Story
It was getting late and dark when she reached the house. Her knock was soon answered, and she stepped inside, to find mother and children quietly gathered together in the little sitting-room without a glimmer of light. A penny in the gas-meter soon remedied that, and the mother said, "My boy was just praying for God to send someone, and when he heard the knock he said, ' There's someone come, mother.'" The deaconess found them without food or fire, but wonderfully patient. She sent one of the boys for bread, and with the nice country butter the family had a nourishing meal.
Of other agencies in connection with Mildmay, mention should be made of the Ossulston Convalescent Home, Hendon, which admits thirty-two patients from among the poor of the Mildmay hospitals and missions; " The Haven," 63, Kennington Park Road, a home where women and girls needing refuge and restoration are received as inmates or given help and advice; the Elizabeth Codner Creche, and the Bible Flower Mission, to which are sent flowers and plants which the mission distributes to hospitals and workhouse infirmaries.
An annual sum of £25,000 is required to support the various agencies connected with Mildmay, and for this amount the mission relies chiefly on voluntary help. Some of the very poor set a wonderful example as donors to its charities. A dear old woman of sixty-seven, who lived in a top attic, earning a precarious living by making patterned rugs and mats out of bits of cloth, sends one of her rugs every year to the Mildmay sale. She only earned four and sixpence a week, and out of that paid two and sixpence for rent, yet she could afford to be generous !