Perry Jinkerson





Perry Jinkerson was born and raised in southern Illinois.  He was baptized at age 11 at the State St. congregation in E. St. Louis.  At age 17, Perry began college at Oklahoma Christian, majoring in business management and computer science.  However during his Junior year at college, Perry became disenchanted with his major’s emphasis on making money as the goal for success in life.  So Perry decided to take a break from college and moved to Ireland for 18 months of mission work.  That 18 months extended to 5 ½ years.  While in Dublin (4 years), Perry was guided by the local minister, Tony Coffey, in developing a rich personal devotion to God. 



In 1978, Perry met Sylvia (Pectol), who had also moved to Ireland in order to work with another mission team (in Limerick).  Over time, Perry and Sylvia fell deeply in love with one another.  On Valentine’s Day, 1980, Perry proposed to her on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean at Galway Bay — with at least a million stars shining all around.  Thankfully, Sylvia, said, “Yes.”  Ten months later, they returned to the United States in order to marry, and for Perry to return to school.  However, he was no longer interested in studying business nor computers; instead his focus was now on Bible study at Abilene Christian.  While at ACU, Perry studied under esteemed scholar Neil Lightfoot, who mentored him in the art of erudite Biblical exegesis. 



In 1984, the Jinkersons moved to Starkville, where Perry would begin his role of Campus Minister / Student Center Director at Mississippi State.  One month after they arrived in Mississippi, their first son, Jeremy also arrived.  Their daughter, Shanna, was born 4 years later,  and son, Jeffrey, 4 years after that.  Sylvia worked as a stay-at-home mom, until all three children were in school.  She then returned to her teaching career and has taught first grade for a number of years in West Point, MS.  Sylvia also finds great satisfaction in selling Mary Kay cosmetics.



In 2006, Jeremy married Liz (Price) and in 2013 they brought great joy to Perry and Sylvia with the birth of their first grandchild, Lee.  Jeremy is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate.  Shanna earned a Masters degree in Industrial Psychology from Middle Tennessee State, and currently works for Disney World.  After completing a B.S. in Missions from Freed-Hardeman, Jeffrey is now working toward an Industrial Engineering degree at Mississippi State.


When Perry interviewed for the job as campus minister at MSU, he thought that he and Sylvia would probably live in Starkville for only ONE year.  Accordingly during his interview, Perry nearly choked when he was told that the elders were looking for someone who might be willing stay for 20 years!  But alas, the Jinkersons have now been in Starkville for 30 years – and counting.  “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Prov. 19:21).