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Schoolin’ on Sunday built a good foundation

POSTED: August 9, 2009 1:00 a.m.

Some people tout our state because it is largely nonunion.

It wasn't that long ago we had plenty of unions, especially on Sunday nights.

We had Baptist Training Union, which was first called BTU and then it just got shortened to Training Union. Now, it's pretty much gone.

The ladies had the WMU. My Aunt Mertice Ruth was the president of the WMU, which stands for Women's Missionary Union. Mert was a chain smoker. For years, I thought WMU stood for Winston Menthol Users, an organization that she could have easily led.

Prior to my time, we had the Baptist Young People's Union, which was the youth group. Now, they have catchy slogan names, like X-treme.

For men, there was not an official union, but they had the Brotherhood, which had a very union-like sound to it. I think most Brotherhood groups were involved in planning the church-wide fish fry or pancake breakfast.

These various unions were not organized against anything - except sin.

We also had the Royal Ambassadors and Girls in Action, better known as RAs and GAs. The GAs used to have a coronation pageant for young ladies each year that was quite a show. There were tiaras and fancy dresses and all the trappings of a fine event.

There was another event that happened about this time of year. It was called Promotion Sunday, the day you moved up to the next class in Sunday school or any one of the unions for the younger set.

It was usually a high attendance day in Sunday school.

In those days, you started out as a beginner, and then you became a primary, followed by juniors and then the intermediates.

After you got past intermediates, you went into adult classes, which had names like Willing Workers, Homemakers or were named for some departed member of the church.

It was when you reached the primary department you started getting a Sunday school lesson book, which we called "quarterlies."

Mr. Harry Adams was the Sunday school superintendent and was in charge of handing out the quarterlies and collecting up all the Sunday school information, which would be both announced in the worship service and posted on a wooden board with changeable numbers. Included in the information was the number of people who brought their Bible to Sunday school, as well as the number of people who read them daily. There was a difference in the two numbers.

The promotion day was also when they handed out Sunday school pins for perfect attendance. I earned only one Sunday school pin in my career. It was a copper thing about the size of a penny. I wore it with pride. We had some older folks in our church who had fancy pins to signify years and years of never missing a single Sunday school class.

But pins and union labels weren't what I took away from Sunday school. It was where the spiritual foundation of my life was built. I learned about Jesus and how he went about doing a lot of good things. I learned about his coming as a baby at Christmas and his incredible example of love at Easter.

That set up a union between the two of us that I'm mighty proud of.

Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column runs every week in Sunday Life.



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