RBP Pioneer with the Lord

Shirley Hull, who with her husband, Merle, served Regular Baptist Press for 35 years, went to be with the Lord on Jan. 7, 2015. She was 92.

Shirley graduated from Baptist Bible College, Johnson City, New York, in 1944, and married Merle Hull in 1945. They served in the pastorate in Michigan and Iowa churches. Then, as it became apparent that the GARBC needed its own Sunday School literature, the Hulls were asked first to write junior high material and then to join the RBP team. Joseph M. Stowell, national representative of the GARBC from 1969 to 1979, wrote of the Hulls, “With divine enablement, they grew as the demands of the work expanded.” Council of Eighteen Member Donald Brong said that the early days of RBP required “unselfish devotion and strong determination to follow the Lord at any cost. Brother Hull and his wife, Shirley, gladly gave themselves as servants of Christ.” He went on to say that Regular Baptist churches and thousands of others “owe a debt of gratitude to this dedicated couple for their service in directing and developing the finest Baptist Sunday School material published.”

In addition to writing material with her husband, Shirley wrote the Beginner Sunday School material for 4- and 5-year-olds. While her own children were young, Shirley was less actively involved in RBP than in later years. In the early 1970s, when RBP began to publish a Vacation Bible School curriculum, Shirley helped Valerie Wilson with office worked and traveled with her to VBS conferences. The two also compiled Preschoolers Sing and Say in 1976.

In 1980, Shirley became a full-time RBP employee, serving as editor of the take-home papers until she retired in 1987. During that time she also spoke at RBP conferences, helping teachers and church workers improve their classroom skills. Valerie Wilson, who herself retired from RBP as its director of editorial resources, says she believes Shirley was concerned for the quality of education in Sunday School, loved the GARBC, and was happy to serve the churches.

John G. Balyo, also a former member of the Council of Eighteen, remarked that both of the Hulls “brought exceptional talent and unusual industry” to their tasks and “demonstrated the ability to carry heavy responsibilities with grace and patience.” G. Arthur Woolsey, educator and former president of Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, wrote in 1987, “RBP today is a successful publisher. . . . While many have made major contributions to this success story, RBP is what it is primarily as the result of Dr. Hull’s vision and expertise. Mrs. Hull has also made a major contribution, not only as a supportive wife but as a professional in her own right. Her contribution to RBP conferences has enhanced their value considerably.”

John Greening, the current GARBC national representative, says that during his tenure with the GARBC, he would often walk through RBP’s large warehouse and shipping area. There he would see palettes of church educational resources that soon would be sent to churches across the U.S. and to nations around the world. He would stand in awe, thinking about the influence those resources would have in introducing boys and girls, students, and adults to salvation in Christ and teaching them the whole counsel of God. In tribute to the Hulls, he says, “It was on the shoulders of Merle and Shirley that this ministry was built.”

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