The East Abaco Methodist Region of the Bahamas Conference of The Methodist Church hosted a Sunday School Teachers’ Appreciation Service at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Dundas Town on June 1. Fourteen teachers from the churches of St Andrews, Dundas Town, St James, Hope Town and Epworth Chapel in Cherokee Sound were honoured for their years of service.
Following the invocation by Pastor Stephen Knowles, President of the Abaco Christian Council, Vernon Malone, Regional Moderator, welcomed the Sunday school teachers and guests from all churches who had gathered to celebrate the efforts of the teachers. He mentioned that several of these teachers come from a long line of Sunday school teachers and so came by teaching naturally. The mother of Suzanne Bethel, one of the honourees, was in fact Vernon’s own Sunday school teacher.
Paul Thompson, in giving the tribute to the teachers of St James Church, Hope Town, stated that the Sunday school there just began three years ago and caters for children aged 2 to 7 years. Presently classes are held in the library but a Sunday school room is now being added to the church.
Donald Moss, in paying tribute to the teachers of St Andrews’s, Dundas Town, commented how very committed all of the Sunday school teachers are and added that each teacher is unique in his or her own way. A moment of silence was observed for the late Cyprianna Williams who taught Sunday school to students aged 4 to 6 years at St Andrews for a period of four years before her passing a few months ago.
One of the older Sunday school students, Akeem Adderley, came forward to sing a solo in memory of Mrs. Williams whom he said he misses a lot. He spent a lot of time with Mrs. Williams who had been a mentor to him and he wished to pay tribute to her which he did by singing her favourite hymn, ‘I am glad I counted the cost.’
Jim Bethel thanked the teachers of Epworth Chapel, for their contributions to Kid’s Corner and mentioned that Margaret Schuitmaker was unable to be present due to travel abroad to visit family but that she had not only assisted with Kid’s Corner but had played the organ at the church for many years.
Following the tributes, gifts were presented to each of the teachers or to their representatives in their absence —Iva Pinder, Jamie and Laura Williams, Centina Sawyer, Doreen Albury, Margaret Schuitemaker, Willard and Suzanne Bethel, Donald and Patricia Elden, Ruth Smith, Rod Hall, Cyprianna Williams (Deceased) and Judymae Albury Wilmore.
During the ceremony musical selections were presented by the St. James Family Service Praise Band and Jennifer Hudson. Mrs Princess Williams presented a liturgical dance.
Bringing remarks was Dr. Lenora Black, District Education Officer for Abaco, who emphasized what a privilege it is to touch the life of a child. She herself has spent almost 43 years in the teaching profession and emphasized the fact that; “100 years from now it does not matter what material things I had in life what matters is whether or not I would have taken every opportunity possible to make a difference in the life of a child. We must centre all our thoughts on Jesus Christ for the Bible tells us that children are very precious in the sight of God.”
She challenged teachers to show the level of commitment seen in Jesus Christ when he followed his Father’s will all the way to Calvary. “God gives us the grace to follow things through and when duty calls we have an obligation to obey. I challenge teachers to consider what they are doing about those who are unchurched. What are they doing to mentor them? We still have to do more, for there are many young people out there who need to be touched and know their Saviour.”
The service was brought to a close with the blessing of the teachers by Pastor Christopher Dean of the Zion Baptist Church followed by a Benediction.
Host Pastor Reverend Marie Neilly gave a vote of thanks and then invited Sunday school teachers and congregation to gather in the church hall for light refreshments.