The Rev. P.H. Crumpler, a Methodist, is more or less given credit for forming the Effingham County Sunday School Association. It is said that at the close of Methodist Camp Meeting, he expressed a desire to invite other churches and Sunday Schools to join together for a meeting. The first Convention of the Effingham County Sunday School Association was held on Wednesday, May 28, 1879, at the Methodist Campground. Mr. Hinton Morgan, a local late historian, stated that the first address at convention was given by Gov. Alfred Colquitt, a former brigadier general in the Civil War and later Georgia governor. Fifteen of the 25 Sunday schools in the county were represented.
Rev. Crumpler took the chair and announced the exercises for the day including songs, scripture, prayers and speeches by the various schools. Baptists present included: Rahn’s School House, Corinth, Pine Grove, Turkey Branch and New Providence. Methodists were: Union, Goshen, Antioch, Mount Pleasant, Andrew Chapel, Marlow and Turkey Branch. Lutherans were: Laurel Hill, Goshen and Zion.
According to an early newspaper report, attendance was noted as 1,200 and about half of them were children, which the reporter referred to as intelligent, articulate and well behaved.
The same format of the program has been used throughout the years with part of the Sunday schools singing songs before the sermon and part afterward. The Sunday Schools are called in for seating by the marshals with the denomination of the year in front. The groups are seated in order of rotation of the denominations. The president and vice-president come from the denomination of the year. During the program the Marshalls call the Sunday Schools one by one to the front of the tabernacle and each group sings a song they have chosen.
Finally, after many years of discussion and defeated votes, in 1970, the day of Convention was moved from Wednesday to the first Sunday in May. Prior to this time, the Wednesday of Convention had been a county school holiday and following this action, the holiday was then rescinded by the Effingham County School Board.
This year is Methodist year. Larry Saxon of Guyton United Methodist Church is president of the Convention and Lori Newkirk of Springfield United Methodist Church is vice president. Brother Ralph Long, the associate pastor and minister of music at Rincon Methodist, will be the guest speaker for the day.
The Convention begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The Sunday Schools will be seated at 9:45 a.m. by the Marshalls.
Everyone is invited to attend this long standing historic annual gathering at the Effingham Methodist Camp Grounds on south Laurel Street in Springfield, Georgia. You are invited to bring your basket lunch to share with any of several groups who will have lunch on the grounds. The old time singing and preaching are sure to offer a moving spiritual experience unique to Effingham County.
This was written by Susan Exley from Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos or historical information to share contact her at 912-754-6681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org