-Tiffany Babb, Contributing Writer
Over the summer, work began on a prayer garden next to Alumni Hall. The idea for this unique project was sparked when an anonymous donor visited a prayer garden in Fort Worth while attending the Southwestern Seminary. The donor enjoyed this experience so much that the decision was made to recreate a similar experience here at Mississippi College. It would have been impossible for this project to be completed as quickly without the funds of this particular donor.
Other attempts have been recently made to develop a 24 hour place of prayer on campus at the direction of Mississippi College President Lee Royce. One such idea was to transform the Alumni Hall lobby into a place of prayer. However, the most recent attempt is the prayer garden project.
The very simple goal of this project is to give faculty and students a place to have unrestricted access to prayer. “I hope that the prominent and visible placement of the garden will remind us of our need to bring everything to the Father and encourage us to seek his will,” said Eric Pratt, vice president for Christian Development at MC and one of the project leaders.
The prayer garden will include a fountain as well as a walkway. Among the other landscaping vegetation there will be a memorial tree. Pratt said “The men of Shawreth are providing the funds for a tree in the garden in honor of Sean Gauley, who was killed in a traffic accident last year.” The project is expected to be completed within a matter of weeks.
Steve Stanford, the vice president for administration and government relations at MC, is in charge of the construction of the project. He said, “Although work may continue until we are completely satisfied with the project, the bulk of the project will be completed within three weeks.” The first thing to be completed will be the irrigation and landscaping followed by the brick paving and walkway. The last item on the agenda for the project completion is the fountain and the brick work surrounding it.
Once the prayer garden has opened, it will be the setting for many community and campus events. “We will be starting our regular campus wide prayer walks at the garden once it is completed,” said Pratt. In addition to the campus events, students will have unlimited access to the garden for the purpose of prayer.
In addition to the prayer garden, the MC campus has undergone many smaller facelifts and construction projects over the summer break. Stanford said, “We renovated all the bathroom and shower facilities in Chrestman Hall, and completed an update of the bathroom and shower facilities on the east end of Whittington Hall.” New pews were installed in Provine Chapel along with a new score board to spruce up the football field as football season kicks off. New offices and AC units were installed in various buildings across campus. There were also a great number of minor repairs, including updated lighting fixtures, repainted walls, and replacing and repairing furniture. New carpet was also placed in a variety of areas across campus.