Bill Simpson visited and shared reports about the different Adult Sunday School classes at Athens First United Methodist Church.
Partners Sunday School Class
There’s a generational character in the history of Sunday Schools in our church. Often they’re formed when members are embarking on a new phase of life. Such is the Partners class, now about 17 years into their “journey through life holding each other up in prayers and friendship through times both difficult and joyful.”
Comprised largely of couples now in their 40s and 50s, many with children, the class reflects the active life of that age. From a roll of nearly 100, around 30 will attend on any given Sunday. A committee selects the studies and members volunteer to teach, with occasional guest speakers. Recently they have followed the Adult Bible Studies, but when I visited they were enjoying an interesting presentation by a Chick-fil-A manager telling about how his faith influences his work.
A hospitality committee plans activities such as covered dish luncheons and seasonal parties, welcomes new friends, and shares news (births, deaths, illnesses, etc.) about class members and families. There is an emphasis on prayer and a regular communication with those absent.
A visit to this class makes clear the sense of “Partnership” the members have with Christ and with each other.
Pathfinders Sunday School Class
Every Sunday morning, several hundred persons, from children to seniors, take part in one of the most traditional and meaningful activities of this historic church: Sunday School. Classes range in size, in format, in ages, and in activity and service. Many classes have been formed over the years to accommodate the interests and compatibilities of those of a similar age. One of these is the Pathfinders Class, formed in the year 2000.
As is often the case, the class was started by a mix of single and married persons in their mid- to late-twenties. A decade later, the 36 persons on the roll are now in their 30s and 50s and most are married. Many now have young children.
The Pathfinders Class rotates teaching among members, with as many as half of the class filling that role. Each person leads for a month (or the length of a study) at a time. The objective of the class is to do deep and meaningful study and not, as they describe it, “a lot of fluff.” The group is very close-knit, enjoying a social event about once a month. As with so many of the Sunday School classes, the Pathfinders devote time each week to prayer concerns for members, their families, friends, and others whom they know need special care. They also participate as a group in church activities such as Souper Supper. The class stays in touch via a weekly email.
The Pathfinders would love to welcome you to their class if you share similar interests and want to grow in God’s grace.
Outreach Sunday School Class
The Outreach Sunday School class began with singles and married in their 20’s and 30’s. Years have passed and now the class sends engraved silver cups to new grandchildren of members. Indeed, concern for others is a hallmark of this class. Its mission statement says: “We reach out to each other, to members of our church, and to people in our community with love, support, help, and a lot of fun as we study God’s Word each Sunday.” From a class roll of over 130, an average of 60 will attend each week for Bible study, videos and occasional outside speakers. Consistency is another characteristic of this class. The class has had only three teachers in its more than fifty year history and its current popular teacher, Charley Whittemore, has been teaching for almost a quarter century. There’s coffee and occasional donuts for those who come early each Sunday. Also, each Sunday, there is a time to share joys and concerns for any who are sick, grieving or celebrating. Class members are furnished an address list, a weekly email and an effort is underway to provide a pictorial directory of the class. Members of this class will be found in every service project of the church. “Outreach,” in fact, is an example of all that’s good in Athens First United Methodist Church Sunday School program.