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Celebrating 136 years of Sunday school convention
Sun Sch Conv Heidts  W. Zipperer
Looking back at a convention photo, from left to right are: Arte and Ola Mae Heidt talking to longtime convention secretary S. Wertz Zipperer. - photo by Photo provided

At the first Sunday school convention in 1879, Rev. Repphard gave a copy of the accompanying illustration of the Lord’s Prayer to each Sunday school teacher present. A similar small card was presented to each student. The original was given to Mrs. Mary Zettler Dasher, grandmother of Mary Dasher Douglass. It now hangs in the Salzburger Museum at Ebenezer.

Credit is given to the Rev. P.H. Crumpler, a Methodist, for forming the Effingham County Sunday School Association, which has held a convention for the past 135 years. The convention originally was held on Wednesday and was a school holiday through most of my childhood. The day of the week for convention was changed to Sunday in 1970.

Gov. Alfred E. Colquitt made the first address at the convention. He was a brigadier general of the Civil War and later governor of Georgia. At least 1,200 persons, about one half of them children, attended the first convention.

The 136th annual Convention of the Sunday School Association of Effingham County will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. with participating Sunday schools ready to march under the tabernacle at 9:45 a.m. at the Effingham County United Methodist Campground on South Laurel Street in Springfield. This is Lutheran year, with Martin Wilkins of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church serving as president and Richard Hall of Bible Lutheran Church as vice-president. A nursery will be provided. Various Sunday Schools will provide special music during the service. Several Sunday school groups will be eating on the grounds after convention.

Rev. Mark Vander Tuig will be the guest speaker. He is the service Coordinator for Lutheran congregations in Mission for Christ. Vander Tuig works to expand and develop the network of congregations in LCMC, offers leadership training and ministry resources for pastors and leaders in the local church and represents LCMC when meeting with other church bodies in the U.S. as well as abroad. He also oversees the professional staff of LCMC. He began this position Sept. 15, 2010. 

For the first 10 years of his ministry he served congregations in Minnesota, Montevideo and St. Cloud.  In 1990, he and his family moved to Altoona, Iowa, where he served Lutheran Church of the Cross until 2010. During those 20 years, the congregation grew from 74 in worship to over 1,100 each weekend. 

Pastor Vander Tuig and Lutheran Church of the Cross are charter members of LCMC. Vander Tuig also served on the Ministry Board of LCMC for seven years. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1976, with bachelor’s degrees in both religion and psychology, from Luther Seminary in 1980 with a master’s of divinity degree, and from St. Mary’s College in 1985 with a master’s of counseling and psychological services. Vander Tuig also holds a certification from the University of Minnesota in chemical dependency counseling and education. Vander Tuig and his wife Candice, married in 1974, have two grown daughters.

All Sunday schools are welcome to participate in Sunday school convention and provide special music if desired. Contact Stuart Exley, secretary, if you plan to participate or for further information at 754-3402.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact her at 754-6681 or email her at