Church back-to-school carnival a blast

Published 5:04 pm Monday, July 30, 2018

Mineral Springs Baptist Church and JAC’s Party Rental partnered to bring a mini carnival to Clanton on July 28 with a free back-to-school bash featuring at least 13 inflatables, carnival foods and games, free haircuts — and 72 backpacks stuffed with school supplies for local students.

Despite the Saturday heat, the celebration saw a turnout of about 250 people, according to Pastor Jason Green of Mineral Springs Baptist Church.

Impact, he said, was a greater goal than numbers.

In event coordinator Abby Bowman’s words, “We just want the community to know that God loves them.”

Based on the snow cone colored smiles from children as they bounced on inflatable after inflatable, as well as those of their parents as they met church members and enjoyed the festive atmosphere, the goal was met.

As a special highlight, at least 47 haircuts were given by two licensed cosmetologists as a head start to the church’s new free haircut ministry.

From their station beside several inflatables behind the church, members of the church’s FAITH Riders motorcycle ministry showed off their bikes and interacted with guests from their booth.

Mineral Springs Baptist Church was thankful for the participation of several local congregations, whose members contributed to the growing piles of donated school supplies.

Bowman said Burning Bush Church in particular arrived with what appeared to be its entire church body to participate in the festivities and contribute to the school supplies donations.

Green said the back-to-school celebration unintentionally brought to life a young man’s vision to see churches come together to impact the community by such an event.

The young man was the son of JAC’s Party Rental owner and operator Rachel Miller.

“When we brought this to the table, she (Miller) jumped on board because this was exactly what he felt like needed to happen — and somebody had a vision for it,” Green said.

Green had not learned of the vision until the day of the festival.

To conclude the event, Green led a special worship service with prayer and blessing over the coming school year. Church members and volunteers held backpacks as they prayed over the students who would carry them and use the utensils inside.

Green said he hopes Mineral Springs will host the back-to-school bash again next year.

“We’ve got such a good partner with Rachel at the (party) rental place, and there’s nothing else like this in our community. We did it for everybody. We did it for every church — there were 37 churches that we invited … I want to remind the church that we’re not in competition, but on the same team working toward the same goal. And this today was about community.”

Green extends special thanks to JAC’s Party Rental, Bowman, Scott Guess, Brandi Bean and T. J. Phelps, who were each “key players” in organizing and pulling off the event.