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Count them – 3,484 Sundays.
That’s the approximate number of consecutive Sundays that LaRue County resident Ed Fultz has attended Sunday school – 67 years – with almost all of them at Nolynn Baptist Church.
Like the proverbial mail carrier, Fultz in accomplishing this feat has trudged through rain, sleet and snow, but somehow made the trip to church each week.
“I’ve waded snow that was knee deep, but mud was the biggest obstacle,” said the 70-year-old farmer. He recalled one especially muddy morning when the horse-drawn wagon in which he and his family were heading to church mired almost to its axles in the thick, reddish-brown muck.
“Old Tom and Prince, our horses, really had to bear down to get us through that mess,” he recollected.
Fultz credits his mother, who attended Sunday school 34 years without an absence, for leading him into the habit of attending.
“I grew up where I live today, just behind Nolynn Church, so Mom made it a point for us to go to Sunday school every Sunday,” he said.
Though decades have passed since he began those trips to worship, Fultz still recalls some of his lessons as a child.
“My teacher gave us a little book that contained bible verses which we had to match to corresponding pictures,” he said. “By getting to do that, I think what I learned stuck with me better than if she had just told us.”
Whenever services were called off at Nolynn, Fultz would attend another church, usually Union or Oak Hill that held classes that day.
During the decades, class members have asked Fultz to teach, but he has always declined.
“I’m not a teacher,” he said. “I’m a learner and I believe you never get so old that you can’t learn something.”
Through the years, his church honored him with plaques and year bars that run from his chest past his waist.
“I’ve enjoyed good health which was another important part of my not missing a Sunday,” he said.
His attendance suffered a setback in August when he, ill from pneumonia, was admitted into a hospital. To make matters worse, he fell while in the hospital, fracturing his hip.
He is in rehabilitation at Sunrise Manor, but his Sunday school class and teacher Bradley Grubbs decided that if he couldn’t come to them, they would go to him.
Rev. George Smith, who has been Nolynn’s pastor for six years, said Fultz’s class met with him at the nursing home.
“I think there have been other times, as well, when Bradley has taught him when Ed couldn’t make it to church.”
Several former pastors have volunteered to pin his 70-year pin on him in three years and Fultz said he might just take them up on the offer.
“I’m looking forward to it, but God is watching us and we don’t have the promise of tomorrow, let alone three years before he calls us home,” he said.