Mississippi College

Prayer Garden Opening at Mississippi College This Summer

June 26, 2014

Mississippi College’s new prayer garden will soon offer a beautiful setting for students, faculty, staff and visitors to get closer to God.

A couple that grew up in Clinton recently made an anonymous gift to the Baptist-affiliated university to create the garden on Alumni Hall’s front lawn. The project should be completed before MC students begin fall classes in late August.

Featuring a raised planter in the center of the 35’ by 35’ garden will be shrub roses, boxwoods and Japanese Maples. New sidewalks will be built leading to the prayer garden from Nelson Drive and from the existing sidewalk outside Alumni Hall.

The theme of the Mississippi College garden is based on a Bible verse, “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears be attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” The verse comes from 2nd Chronicles 6:40.

Work should begin in July. The garden will also feature seasonal colors, four water fountains and new lighting.

The Christian university’s future prayer garden is being warmly embraced by Mississippi College students, faculty and staff.

“MC’s campus is already beautiful, but having a designated prayer garden will add yet another wonderful feature to the university’s foliage,” says MC student Megan Donahoe of Indianola. The garden will provide a terrific setting, she said, “for students and faculty to escape stress and spend time in God’s creation.”

A prayer garden is needed, says communication major Olivia Koonce, 20, of Memphis, to give students “a different place to get away from the busy atmosphere of college life. It will be interesting to see how the students respond to this new space.”

MC students have asked for this special type of place to pray for years, and this summer their wishes will come true. It is expected to be heavily used by students and other university stakeholders year-round.

The designated outdoors area “will help create an environment where we can more readily spend time and connect with the Lord,” said Vice President for Christian Development Eric Pratt.

“We should be always praying, but a place for contemplation, reflection and quiet will provide a sense of His presence and majesty,” Pratt added.

Mississippi College students have other more structured opportunities to pray at weekly chapel programs at First Baptist Church Clinton, at Baptist Student Union activities, over meals in the cafeteria and at churches in metro Jackson.

Wayne VanHorn, dean of the School of Christian Studies & the Arts, is delighted the nation’s second oldest Baptist college will welcome the prayer garden to campus.

“The locale is beautiful,” says VanHorn, a former Baptist pastor in Columbia, Mississippi. “It is an underutilized area of our campus that will be conducive for getting alone with the Lord for a few moments each day as often as needed,” he said. “God hears the prayers of His people.”

Ted Snazelle, a longtime Mississippi College biological sciences professor who’s served as a leader in national daffodil societies for decades, is anxious to see the final product.

A few of the Clinton resident’s lovely daffodils will find a spot in the garden designed by Cade Trisler of Trisler Landscape Management. “It will really be well-received,” Snazelle says. “It is a nice touch.”

Photo: Mississippi College's new prayer garden will be located on the front lawn outside Alumni Hall. Work should begin in July on the Clinton campus.

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