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Church camp ‘enraptures’ participants

Jesus said when two or three are gathered in His name, He willbe in the midst of them.

That promise has pretty much made the size of the gatheringirrelevant for 2,000 years. It’s something Bryan McCormick kept inhis mind last week while spreading the gospel and helping build thestrength of a small youth group at a small church inBrookhaven.

“It’s more about quality than quantity. Jesus took 12, andthrough those 12 He completely rocked the face of the Earth,” hesaid.

McCormick, a 22-year-old baker from Cold Water, was part of anine-member squad of young Christians from Colonial Hills BaptistChurch in Southaven who spent the latter half of last week holdingCamp Enraptured, a three-day Bible camp for the few youth groupmembers at Brookhaven Church of God. The group was quitecontemporary, armed with a plan for activities, drama, music andpublic service, all designed to show the Brookhaven kids thatserving God isn’t all rules and regulations, fire andbrimstone.

It can be fun.

“We’re trying to get these kids to understand you can be aChristian and have fun,” said Kaylah Holland, 22, a violin teacherfrom Southaven. “We come from a large church, and we have a largeyouth group that is very active. A lot of times these kids in smallchurches don’t get that.”

Holland and her group were in Brookhaven last week by request,and it was their second straight summer visit. She’s thegranddaughter of Brookhaven Church of God pastor the Rev. HerbertBarnett, and it was in 2009 that he put out the call for Hollandand her friends to travel south and energize his youth group.

Last year, only a couple of Colonial Hills youth could make it,and only a handful of Brookhaven youth attended. This year, theSouthaven group expanded, and 22 local youth from several churchesshowed up for Camp Enraptured.

Last year’s event, though small, kept Heuck’s Retreat BaptistChurch’s Richard Edwards focused on his Maker during summervacation. This year the 18-year-old was back to set the tone forsummer once more.

“This event really got me on fire for the summertime,” he said.”This can change you, get you excited and see a whole differentaspect of the Christian life. It’s freedom.”

In search of freedom, the group held morning and evening worshipservices, practiced music and performance and went on daily serviceprojects, like Friday afternoon’s visit to a local nursing home.The three-day theme focused on living lives of purity andpurpose.

Just as Jesus’ 12 eventually grew to more than 2 billion,Holland hopes her 22 will expand across the city.

“There is a need here, but I don’t know if anyone is meetingit,” she said. “Not to say we’re going to meet it with a three-daycamp, but hopefully our visit will show other people, ‘Hey, we cando that, too.'”