The Black Church: Five Ways Sunday School Prepared Me for Life
This week I watched “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song,” a four-hour, two-part series from producer Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This four-hour special traces the 400-year history of the Black church in America.
While watching, I kept thinking about the most impactful part of my Black Church experience at Campground A.M.E. Church in rural Arkansas. Sunday School kept coming to mind. I thought long and hard about what institutions, outside of grade school, impacted my life the way Sunday School did, and I couldn’t think of anything. Below I share five ways Sunday School Prepared me for life.
My parents read to me in the womb (not that I can remember) and continued reading to me and teaching me how to read before I started kindergarten. Sunday School reinforced these reading skills.
My Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Frances Christian, patiently encouraged four-year-old me to read the beginner lessons during Sunday School. If I got a word wrong or needed help, she gently corrected me. By the time I got to kindergarten, I felt like a professional reader. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Funderburg, even had me read books such as Green Eggs and Ham to the class. I was brave enough to read to the class because of my Sunday School experiences.
As an adult, I read every day, and I am eternally grateful because my Sunday School experience helped shape this part of me.
In addition to reading support, Mrs. Frances helped me learn to count money. Every Sunday, our class collected $2-$3 for the Sunday School offering. Mrs. Frances made sure the students counted the money. If we had a bill and some change, she would wrap the coins in the bill so we wouldn’t drop it on the way to the offering table. Eventually, I got so good at counting money that I was appointed junior secretary for the Sunday School. I counted and reported on all the money collected from each Sunday School class.
As an adult, I’ve taken financial accounting classes for fun and continue to learn how to be “where the money reside.”