Mississippi College

Mississippi Baptist Convention Concludes Wednesday

October 30, 2007

Mississippi College connections were everywhere, from the crowded First Baptist Church sanctuary in Jackson, to the rows of exhibits drawing hundreds of Baptists from across the state.

Punctuated with time for praise, worship and a blitz of reports, the 172nd annual session of the Mississippi Baptist Convention opened in Jackson Tuesday and wraps up Wednesday.

At an early morning breakfast, MC President Lee Royce offered an update of the university's $65 million "Growing the Vision" campaign that's now reached the $51 million mark. "We're making good progress," he told the group that gulped down coffee along with sausage and biscuits. A $2.5 million gift is the biggest to the campaign so far.

The fund drive for scholarships, academics programs and building needs was first announced in fall 2006. Construction of a $3 million international center will serve the needs of 330 students in three separate buildings.

Helping boost the campaign, Royce said, is that "the economy is reasonably good in Mississippi."

Others on hand for the day's activities included former Mississippi College administrator Rory Lee, executive director of the 110-year old Baptist Children's Village. In his remarks to hundreds of convention messengers from churches around the Magnolia State, Lee spoke of the expansion of the program, including a new facility for Winston County to be open with the start of the 2008 school year. It also has locations in Wiggins, Brookhaven, Jackson, and Water valley, among others.

Blue Mountain College President Bettye Coward stopped by to greet visitors to her booth promoting the school in Tippah county. Tuesday night, she would join Blue Mountain fans as the men's basketball team plays its first game against Belhaven College on the Jackson campus. Blue Mountain first began admitting men to all its academic programs a little more than a year ago.

Visitors to the Baptist convention Tuesday included MC trustee Bill Smith of Tupelo, a 1959 alumnus who attended his first convention here in 1963, and the Rev. Paul Brashier, pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Tupelo. He's a 1986 MC graduate with his daughter, a Tupelo High senior, considering his alma mater in Clinton.

Convention-goers return Wednesday morning to First Baptist Church in Jackson, a few blocks from the Mississippi Capitol.

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