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Super Summer at Mississippi College Welcomes Rienzi Baptist Church

Super Summer at Mississippi College Welcomes Rienzi Baptist Church

Rienzi, Mississippi remains the friendly community where “everybody knows everybody.”

In the Alcorn County town of 315 people, the words of the Rienzi Baptist Church youth pastor James Palmer ring true.

That was the case as the delegation from the community south of Corinth traveled to Mississippi College for Super Summer camps. A Rienzi native who attended the church growing up there decades ago, MC President Blake Thompson made their visit more special. He welcomed each one to the Clinton campus.

Dr. Thompson and his wife, Jana, are both Rienzi natives. So it was easy for the new MC leader to connect with the teens and church pastors from back home. A photo session with the North Mississippi delegation in the blistering summer heat on the Quad was part of his duties on July 15.

Originating at Mississippi College in 1987, Super Summer camps help teens from Baptist churches statewide build their faith and enhance their leadership skills. There’s time for Bible study, worship services with a praise band, adult speakers, meals in the MC cafeteria and games.

The July 16-20 visit proved life-changing for the Alcorn County bunch. That was the experience for all 1,325 teens at the 2018 Super Summer. The Mississippi Baptist Convention generously supports the camps. There were 300 teens signed up for the first Super Summer at the Baptist-affiliated university.

“To me, Super Summer is the best Christian camp that I have ever been to,” says Rienzi’s Grace Jones, 16, a member of its Yellow School. “I love how at camp you have other kids around your age here who all worship the same God you do and want to grow in their relationship with the Lord.”

John Christian, an incoming junior at Biggersville High, gave camp a thumbs up. “This is my 2nd year at Super Summer and I get closer to God.”

One teen at Rienzi Baptist Church will spend four more years at the Christian university. Caleb Conner, 17, will soon enroll as an MC freshman studying accounting. Being on campus for the dawn of the Thompson era at America’s 2nd oldest Baptist college will be a plus. “That’s kind of cool.”

The Mississippi College president’s roots in Alcorn County run deep. Both Biggersville High Lions, Dr. Thompson met Jana as they attended Vacation Bible School at the Rienzi church. The church remains part of his DNA. Dr. Thompson and Mississippi Baptist Convention leader Jim Futral will serve as guest speakers as the church celebrates its 175th anniversary on September 16. The New Life Center and a remodeled sanctuary will be showcased that Sunday.

Located at 10 School Street, the Rienzi church features an interesting history. The Chickasaw Baptist Association listed it among four new churches on September 15, 1843. The church’s initial home was a log cabin, reports show. In 1852, a bigger church was built, housing Baptist and Methodist services. Another key date was 1862 when Union troops burned the church during the Civil War. A tornado destroyed the church building in 1913. A modern milestone was the first Sunday service in the current Rienzi Baptist Church structure on September 7, 1958.

Fast forward to July 20, 2018. Rienzi church-goers depart MC and return home to get ready for the Fall anniversary.

The Rienzi visitors left Mississippi College with wonderful memories.

“The opportunity to see our kids grow and mature spiritually has been a true blessing,” says Rienzi Baptist Church pastor Titus Tyer. “The instructors and speakers truly care about these young men and women,” he said. “Super Summer doesn’t just show us where we are, but what we can become through Jesus Christ.”

Pam Tyer, the pastor’s wife, rates her first Super Summer experience as “amazing.” It delivered invaluable spiritual experiences to reach the church family. “I already can’t wait until next year!.”

Arriving in Clinton via vans and buses, campers journey to Mississippi College from churches in cities stretching from Tupelo to metro Jackson and the Gulf Coast. Baptist leaders are impressed with the teens, whether they represent green, red, purple, or yellow schools.

“A Super Summer invitation means these young people have excelled in their Christian walk in their churches, their Bible studies, their families, their relationships, every part of their lives,” says Mississippi Baptist Convention Board spokesman William Perkins.

Editor of “The Baptist Record,” Perkins believes their future shines bright. “Keep an eye on them, because they are our spiritual leaders of tomorrow.”