Faith and family: Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist building new church

Published 1:04 am Saturday, November 26, 2016

By Morgan Mizell

The Natchez Democrat

VIDALIA — The growth of the congregation coupled with the desire for more space for bigger events spurred the need for a new building for the Greater Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church.

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The Rev. Raymond T. Riley Sr, who has pastored the church for the past 20 years, said he is excited to need the new building.

“Our existing church is a really old building,” Riley said. “It has passed its usefulness and our membership has grown under my leadership.”

The church is currently located at 510 Laurel St. in Vidalia. Until the new facility is complete, the congregation will continue to meet in its current building.

“The new location will allow us to accommodate conferences,” Riley said. “And it will also allow us to do other Christian activities we have been wanting to do as a missionary church.”

The idea of further growth excites Riley, but he doesn’t foresee the need to have another facility after this move.

“I believe God will flourish our church,” Riley said. “This will more than likely be our permanent location.”

The new location sits at 2 Concordia Ave. across the street from Vidalia Upper Elementary School.

The church has plans to be in the new location in late February or Early March of this coming year.

Riley says he hopes the new location will help the church in a few different ways.

“I love the new location the Lord has blessed us with,” he said. “It is open and more accessible to the community and visitors from out of town. I hope that it will help us to bridge the gap of age, race and denominations and allow us to all come together with Bible based teachings to reach all people.”

Riley said he knew serving as a minister was what he had been called to do with his life.

“I was called by God to teach his people,” Riley said. “After I graduated from Vidalia in 1980, I obtained a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in theology and Christian counseling from PenteFaith Bible Studies Institute out of Houston, Texas.”

Riley is currently working on another master’s degree and his doctorate at Hope Bible Institute out of Baton Rouge.

“I truly thank God to be able to be a part of a great church family and be the Pastor building a new Church in the great city of Vidalia,” Riley said. “I pray again that we can be a city of Christians coming together for a great cause, making disciples for the Lord.”