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Sunday morning heroes

by Emily White

Let’s see . . . there’s the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Stars, the National Cowboys and Western Heritage Hall of Fame, and a host of other expensive housing awards for the famous, top performers, and talented. However, the folks you’ll find on these pages aren’t famous, but they are heroes. Every Sunday morning they grab their Bibles, teacher’s books, and a hodgepodge of crafts and object lessons. Who are they? Sunday School teachers—men and women who make an enormous impact upon the lives of their students. Let me introduce you . . .

Sandy Ritter, highly educated and capable of speaking to statesmen, has chosen to teach a class of middle-aged women at Woodbine Free Will Baptist Church (Nashville, TN). She makes every lesson personal and shows her students how to adapt truth to everyday life. She plans regular outings for her class and encourages them to get to know one another. When someone is going through hard times, illness, or experiencing family difficulties, Sandy is there to pray, care, and share God’s love. Her students describe her as “a communicator of God’s grace in times of need.”

Justin and Judy Barnett (First Free Will Baptist, Little Rock, AR) are examples of top-notch Sunday School teachers. Married for more than 20 years, they have no children of their own. Yet on a regular basis, children go home with them after church or spend the weekend so their parents can have a “vacation.” Justin taught the 6-8th grade boys’ class and Judy the 2-4 year olds. This story of amazing service doesn’t stop there. In November of 2004, Justin passed away after a sudden heart attack. Judy was devastated and had to take a sabbatical from her responsibilities. During the past year, however, six of the students she had worked with accepted Christ as Savior. Judy has a tremendous influence in their lives. Just ask their parents. She is making a difference during the most difficult time in her life!

Marsha Anstine is making a profound impact upon the 10-12th grade class at First Free Will Baptist Church in Springfield, MO. Her students deem her a patient and loving person—qualities needed to teach teens! She goes beyond her duties on Sunday to help her students by serving as a debate judge, filling out college reference forms, and hosting many activities. Marsha cares for each one of her students and doesn’t play favorites. Her students say she makes each person feel special. Way to go, Marsha!

Know any Sunday School Teachers who go above and Beyond?  We would like to hear about them.  Please write to

Emily White is the Acquisitions Editor at Randall House Publications.




©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists