Campmeeting has been a summertime event at Lumpkin Campground for the last 179 years, with families packing their belongings for a week of tenting at the campground.
The tents, as the wood cabins are called, are larger and more comfortable with modern amenities such as air conditioning and televisions, but tenters still stop for services taking place everyday beginning at 11 a.m. throughout the week.
Located on Lumpkin Campground Road, across the street from Bethel United Methodist Church, this year’s event will begin with the first service at 7:45 p.m. on Monday, July 20.
Running through Sunday, July 26, meeting times during the event will be held at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
This year’s host pastors are Dr. Orin Sampson and Rev. Michael Ridings. Lollie Elliott is the youth leader while Sheena Elliott, Anna Byrd and Hannah Crowder serve as the children’s leaders, and Spencer Wright will be the song leader.
Initially, campmeeting was a way for Methodists in the community to get together once a year, exchange ideas and pass along stories of faith and devotion, while at the same time, enjoying worship services.
As years passed, the younger generations began to branch out, marrying into Baptist families, who eventually joined in during campmeetings. Now, Methodists and Baptists both have tents in the campground.
The campground is marked by rows of tall, hardwood trees with whitewash painted about three feet up the trunk. The history of whitewashing is a very practical one.
Before electricty, the trunks were painted white so that members would not run into them as they made their way to the arbor for services. Even though the campground is well lit, it is the tradition to gather prior to campmeeting to whitewash the tree trunks.
Like a very large family, the campground usually boasts approximately 500 members and their families, friends and visitors, all of whom are delighted to be part of the celebration. The children play together while the adults visit and testify to the meaning of God in their lives.
Lumpkin Campground campmeeting is held each summer at the end of July.