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Spiritual revival
Campmeeting runs through the weekend
2 Campmeeting pic1
Frank and Elizabeth Nix sit on the familys front porch Monday during campmeeting at Lumpkin Campground. During the revival families spend the week together in tents, or wood cabins, many that have been passed from generation to generation. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Sitting in a swing on the front stoop of his family's tent at Lumpkin Campground, Michael Hughes leans back and closes his eyes.

"This is an enchanted place for me, a place of reflection where time stands still," he said. "I do a lot of traveling, but no matter where I am in the world, when it's time for campmeeting, this is where I am."

Now in its 181st year, campmeeting at Lumpkin Campground began Monday, though families began planning for the weeklong spiritual revival weeks ago.

"We start cleaning a little bit and seeing what needs to be repaired," said Linda McClure Peck. "We freeze things, and I start thinking about trying to put up vegetables and everything ahead of time. It really makes it nicer than when you have to come here and do everything."

Families spend the week together in "tents," or wood cabins, many that have been passed from generation to generation.

"It's a rustic type of vacation, a reunion with people we don't see but once a year," Peck said. "It's just fun and relaxing."

Founded in 1830, 40 local men each donated $1 to purchase Lumpkin Campground.

Then one week each summer, those pioneer families packed their covered wagons with everything they'd need to spend a week "awakening a revival of the spirit," said Elizabeth Nix, campground historian.

"That's what this is all about. It's a revival where the spirit of the Lord is among us," she said.

Over the years, the campground received utilities like electricity and water, but many families continue to cherish and hang on to traditions of the past, like dirt floors covered in hay and the absence of television and air conditioning.

Eleven-year-old Kane Pelfrey said campmeeting is like getting to take a step back in time for a week each summer.

"And every year it has been the funnest week of my life and the rest of my family's life," he said. "It's family time. We stay together, yet we're always apart doing our own stuff."

But when it's time for the daily services to begin, everyone, including the children, is expected to stop what they are doing and rejoice in the word.

"So many souls are saved here every year," Peck said.

Services under the campground's open arbor are held daily this week at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.