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A Look Back: Sunday School

Many of us grew up going to Sunday School and church each week.  

Since my family belonged to the church right across the street from our house, it didn’t take long to get to the classroom set aside for my age group. Many of us “old folks” remember very fondly the women and men who were the first outside of our homes to teach us about God, Jesus and the Bible. 

June 27, 1883—The Methodist, Presbyterian and Christian Sunday schools had a union picnic today at Breedlove’s Spring near Hartsell. 

Jan. 10, 1886—Sunday school attendance is falling off on account of the chilly temperatures. 

Jan. 15, 1886—Although she is now 82 (Hartsell’s only octogenarian as a matter of fact), “Grandma” Stinson still attends religious services regularly, even teaching the infant class of the Union Sunday school. She takes a special delight in teaching the little ones the truths of the Holy Book. She is a true Christian and is prepared to attend the summons of the great I AM. 

July 13, 1891The Morgan County Sunday School Convention convened at Gandy‘s Cove Saturday and Sunday. Enquirer Editor J. A. Rountree, secretary of the convention, reports a very large attendance and much interest manifested. He says 41 schools were represented, and in that number, 2,500 scholars are reported being in regular attendance. There were 15 Methodist, 11 Baptist, 8 Union, 4 Christian and 3 Presbyterian schools represented.   

 Jan. 23, 1898The Morgan County Sunday School Convention held its annual meeting this week at the Fourth Avenue Methodist Church, New Decatur. There was a full attendance of delegates, and every school in the county was represented. 

April 17, 1899The Alabama State Sunday School Association, which was in session in Montgomery the last three days of last week, was the best ever held in the history of the association, 200 delegates being present from all parts of the state. J. C. Orr Jr., Hartselle, will serve as secretary for the coming year. A. A. Oden, Hartselle, will serve on the executive committee. Dr. J. F. Turney, the driving force behind the Sunday School movement in Alabama and also a resident of Hartselle, will serve as a delegate to the international convention, which meets in Atlanta from April 28 to April 30. 

May 2, 1902—Dr. J. F. Turney is sending out invitations to participants in adjacent counties to attend the Morgan County Sunday School Convention, which will assemble in New Decatur in two weeks. One editor who received an invitation but who had a prior commitment said those who traveled to New Decatur should expect “a great soul feast.” 

July 16,1904—Dr. J. F. Turney was in Addison today for the union Sunday School celebration. Early this morning people began coming in from every direction, and by 10 o’clock, when the celebration began, fully five hundred people had assembled, and they did indeed have “a great soul feast.”  The program began with prayer and singing. Many of the singers had been trained by one or more of the members of the highly talented Denson family. The program otherwise consisted of more songs, recitations, readings and speeches. An intermission was taken at noon for a sumptuous dinner served outside on specially constructed tables. A local newspaper editor later shared that he had never seen “better order at any church gathering, nor a better and more interesting program in a Sunday School celebration.” Addison also was said to have “a brighter set of children and pupils.” 

Sept. 22, 1905—Hartselle’s Dr. J. F. Turney is not letting up in his efforts to begin and strengthen Sunday Schools throughout the state.  At the present time he is sending out letters informing the recipients that he and Mrs. Turney will be at Double Springs Sunday, October 15, looking to the reorganization of the Winston County Sunday School Association. 

Aug. 3, 1914The state standard of efficiency for adult Bible classes, which has been worked out after some months of investigation and experimentation by the Alabama Sunday School Association, was presented in final form to adult Bible classes of all denominations in Alabama, now numbering nearly 1,500.