60 years of Sunday school teaching “comes so naturally after a while”


Mary Jo Looser was recently recognized by the Five Points Baptist Church in Northport for teaching Sunday School for 60 years, and although she admitted that she did not feel prepared some weeks, “it does come so naturally after a while ”.

“There were Sundays where I thought, ‘Why, Lord, am I in this position?’ and, ‘What am I going to say today?’ And then there were Sundays when I was absolutely anxious to share the lesson because I had been inspired, ”Looser, 86, told The Alabama Baptist.

When she retired from teaching several months ago, she had taught some of the women in the class for 30 years, she said. Over the years, she has taught kids, college and career as well as adult classes, and said she was never asked to teach.

“I don’t want to give the impression that teaching is the easiest thing in the world. It didn’t, but it certainly improved my walk with the Lord, ”Looser said,“ knowing every Sunday that I was going to be responsible for a lesson.

The joy of helping

A University of Alabama graduate with a journalism degree, Looser noted that she was “privileged to work for two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers,” the Montgomery Advertiser and The Tuscaloosa News, where she was responsible for coverage. state news.

“What’s wonderful about the press isn’t so much what you write, but it’s who you write about and who you meet,” Looser said.

She then worked for the Alabama Department of Public Health, where she continued to write but was able to interact with mothers and babies as part of the Maternal and Child Health program.

“I think one of the real joys of my life has been seeing public money used to support our babies,” Looser said, adding that “babies are the future”.

Looser was married to her husband, Dick, until his death 10 years ago, and they have three grown children – two who work in higher education and one who works for Easterseals.

“I think during my years as a Sunday school teacher I taught each of the three kids as they drifted through primary and then one of the real joys was the time I I taught college and career with Dick, and then we had our kids in class, ”Looser said.

What is particularly meaningful to her is when a former student, especially from the college and professional class, remembers learning from her.

When Looser looks back on how her Sunday school attendance began, she remembers walking to church as a little girl, carrying her Sunday school lesson “in a little folder. × 7 ”.

“It was a treasure”

“The first page of this file was covered with pictures and the inside contained a Bible story. The back had key verses. I remember crying because I dropped my flyer and didn’t know where it was. It was a treasure.

She compared it to how life changed when she retired from teaching.

“I’m sitting here now, looking across the room at a messy pile of Bibles and reference books, and I think we’re losing something. I can’t imagine crying that I lost a book now.

Looser speculated that it might seem strange to some in the world today to think of an 86-year-old attending Sunday school “because they think Sunday school is for kids.”

“It’s really for kids,” she said, “and it’s really for adults. He knows no age limit.

Often times, people are reluctant to teach a class when asked, and Looser has some tips for those who ask.

“You just have to say, ‘Try it, then come back and tell me you can’t,’ she said. “I know not everyone can teach, but you have to try it before you refuse. We are responsible for sharing the Good News.

“Friends are a gift”

Looser said she takes great pleasure in waking up every morning, even though she slows down in old age.

“When you are nearing the end of your life, friends are a gift,” she said. “If I learned one thing in Sunday school, I learned that having friends is healing and that Sunday school is about cultivating friendships.

This is especially useful, Looser said, when people are encouraged “to go to whatever class they would like to be in, and therefore there are young people with older people.”

Martha Goodwin was taught by Looser for at least 25 years and has stated that she is dedicated to her church and her family, and that her faith has brought her through many trials.

“She is very Bible-oriented, and when there is a problem that needs to be resolved, she always looks to the Bible for inspiration before she talks about a problem,” Goodwin said.


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