The church bell rang again in the steeple of the old Rodney Presbyterian Church the other day. Not that it couldn't have all along. But there were no people around to pull the rope. Well, the hope is, after an initial meeting last Thursday, there will be a lot more people around the two oldest church buildings in Rodney. Not to ring the bell, but to help stabilize them with an eye toward future restoration.
The oldest of the two buildings is the Rodney Presbyterian Church, built in 1831. It just missed getting water inside during the recent Mississippi River flood. The other church of concern is the Rodney Baptist Church building. Its exact age is unclear, but there are church records going back to 1870.
Scott Griffin, who pastors Amity Baptist Church in Sparta, Mississippi, north of Starkville has a keen interest in history and has initiated efforts that will hopefully eventually lead to restoration of the two church buildings.
Scott Griffin; we need as much help as we can get. Young adults, everyone that might take a potential interest in Rodney and help us preserve these buildings for a new generation.
Walt: In with this group of people exploring the beginning steps of such a plan are some friends along with Charles Roberts from First Baptist of Hazlehurst who heard about Scott Griffin's ideas and seem to have caught the vision for restoring Rodney, also.
Ray Smith is here, too. His family was the last to attend Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist that met in the Rodney Baptist Building up until about 14 years ago. He sees the effort to try to put life in Rodney as a positive.
Ray Smith: It's a good thing to restore some of the historical sites here in Mississippi especially in the Rodney area. It's a lot of memories go back through these old buildings.
Scott Griffin: Rodney is so critically important not only on a state level, not only on a regional level but some terms national level. And after 160, 170 plus years that Rodney has been a community it is at its most critical point now.
Walt: Feet are attached to the plans, as Saturday, August 20th volunteers will start on the most critical needs of the Baptist building. And civic groups or church groups or history buffs or individuals are welcomed to join in.
Will Rodney rise again? If we want it to, it will.
Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.
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