Clanton woman hasn’t missed Sunday School in 50 years

Published 9:40 pm Friday, February 20, 2009

There are good habits and bad habits. Harriet Wyatt, 85, of Clanton has developed a good habit few people can touch — she hasn’t missed Sunday School at West End Baptist Church in 50 years.


“That’s just part of getting up on Sunday morning,” she said. “I don’t know anything else to do.”

Wyatt has unintentionally picked up a small “fan base” in the process. It’s not uncommon for people who see her in the grocery store to ask, “Have you missed Sunday School lately?”

The church even gave her a standing ovation the first Sunday in February as Wyatt was presented her 50th commemorate pin for perfect attendance.

“They made it a real big thing,” she said.

But for Wyatt, the longtime director-secretary of the Adult III Department and a former Sunday School teacher herself, it’s not about merely attending. It’s about serving and growing spiritually. Her mother and her pastor instilled those values in Wyatt early in life.

“After the first year, I began to want to do it again,” she said. “We also thought it might encourage young people.”

Wyatt has had plenty of reasons to miss. Her mother, husband, and a son all were buried on Sundays. But she always showed up to do her job.

“I’ll be flat of my back if I miss,” she says.

Wyatt has missed Sunday School before. That was Jan. 18, 1959, on her late husband Carlos’ birthday, when the couple traveled to her hometown of Brent to eat dinner with her mother.

In fact, Carlos had built up 24 years of perfect attendance himself before losing a battle with lung cancer in 1983. Her three sons also had respective streaks of two, 10 and 12 years.

“All of them missed when they starting working for the power company,” she said. “They had to work on Sunday.”

Wyatt, a member of Ricky Rhodes’ Sunday School class, said she enjoys the fellowship with class members as well as the Bible study. And make no mistake, she knows to whom the credit belongs.

“I am proud to be able to do this, but without the Lord’s help I couldn’t do it,” she says.

—Scott Mims can be reached at