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Six Sunday School leaders at FBC Satsuma log centuries of combined teaching timecomment (0)

May 22, 2008

By Jeremy Dale Henderson

As with other churches across the state, you can listen to last Sunday’s service at First Baptist Church, Satsuma, online. You can even print out the church newsletter from the Web site if you want to see what’s going on.

June Criswell, the church’s financial secretary for 40 years, thinks all that is just fine.

But far be it from Criswell and five other special women from the Mobile Baptist Association congregation to blog or download their way out of even one Sunday School class. They like it too much; it’s too much a part of their lives.

Between the six of them, Criswell, Iva McWain, June Walley, Gladys Breen, Carolyn Thaggard and Gloria Irby have taught more than 300 years worth of Sunday School — at least 50 years apiece and almost all of them at First, Satsuma.

Associate Pastor of Administration and Education Bruce Holmes said that has to be some kind of record.

"It certainly is unusual," he said.

But to Criswell, who never really did "tie an exact number down once it passed 50 years," such an accomplishment just isn’t that big a deal.

"It’s the Lord’s doing, I guess," Criswell, 76, said of her Sunday morning diligence. "I’ve always loved the church and everything about it."

Through the years, she has taught practically every age group and is currently teaching a class of women ages 60–69. "The young ones," Criswell called them.

As for 82-year-old Irby, the church’s pianist and organist since 1959, the reason for teaching Sunday School is as simple and powerful as they come.

"The duty of a Christian is to serve," Irby said. That’s an answer that Criswell said pretty much sums it up for her and the others, too.

"Everyone has the same devotion," she said.

And it’s a devotion that pays off in the long run.

Criswell said a girl who had been in one of her classes stopped her the other day in Wal-Mart.

"They remember," Criswell said. "They remember that you were there and that you were always there. That makes it all worth it. I’ll stay with it as long as the Lord lets me."

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