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Annual Camp Meeting to get under way July 15
Worshippers flock into the Tabernacle at the center of the Methodist Campground. - photo by Photo provided

On July 15, the 221st Annual Effingham County United Methodist Camp Meeting begins with an evening service at 7:30 p.m. The services will run daily at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. through July 20.

Presiding Superintendent Rev. Mike Huling invites everyone in the community to participate in this long held tradition at this historical Methodist site in Springfield on the south end of Laurel Street.  Since 1790, they have gathered and have been at the present location since the Brinson Railroad displaced the previous camp site in 1907. Many families still “tent” spending the entire week living on the grounds and there are special supervised camps available for rising third through 12th grades.

The Camp Meeting preacher will be Rev. Ricky Varnell, a man with roots in Effingham. A graduate of Statesboro High, Columbus State University and Emory University Candler School of Theology, he has served many churches in the UMC South Georgia Conference.

Varnell, a past Dublin District superintendent of the South Georgia United Methodist Conference, has preached at over 250 revivals and several area camp meetings. He also directed youth camp four years in a row in the 1970s here in Effingham.   Married to the former Jackie Johnson of Statesboro, they have a daughter, son and one grandson. He is now serving Gray/Clinton.

His mother is Pauline (Seckinger) Varnell, daughter of the late Frank B. and the late Gertrude (Exley) Seckinger. His father is the late Rev. James “Jimmy” C. Varnell Jr. son of the late Nina Lou (Neidlinger) and the late James “Jack” C. Varnell Sr.

Hymns and music are an essential part of worship and this year will be no exception with Rincon United Methodist director of worship Ralph Long playing the piano. The song leader is Rev. Daryl Brown of Guyton United Methodist. The Premier Quarter will sing at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday evening prior to and during the 7:30 p.m. service.

Meals are available in the dining hall for individuals and groups. Reservations should be made one day in advance with the kitchen crew or by contacting Maxine Wendelken at 826-5960.

The children and youth programs are packed with games, music, devotions and worship along with many special activities. Youth Camp 2011 for rising third through fifth grades begins July 17 and ends July 19. For fee information and registration, contact Margaret Edwards, children’s coordinator, at 667-4908 or 754-6090.

Youth Camp for sixth through 12th grades begins with registration on July 14 and ends July 17. Contact youth camp coordinator Rev. Chance Ward of Goshen UMC for registration and cost information at 667-4903.

Jason Hinely, chairman of the Campground Trustees, said that all of the Trustees are putting forth their best efforts to provide a wonderful week at Camp Meeting.

“Everyone is welcome to join us under the tabernacle for fellowship and some good old time religion,” Hinely said.

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