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Looking back at 216 years of Methodist Camp Meeting
07.05 echoes tabernacle
A 1980s view of the Tabernacle where “camp meeting” services are held on the Effingham Methodist Camp Grounds. - photo by Photo submitted

On July 13-18, the 217th Annual Effingham County United Methodist Camp Meeting will be held. Since 1790, Methodists have convened annually on their camp ground, presently one mile south of the center of Springfield.

This year the brochure phrase “Where the Heart is Strangely Warmed” gives credence to the fact that so many have renewed their faith each year and many have been called to lifelong careers of preaching and the mission fields during camp Meeting. Many families have “tents” (rustic buildings) on the grounds where they live for the week. There is a “tent” for housing of children and youth participating in the program for the week. The tabernacle, constructed of hand-hewn pine, is the center of activities and worship.  

This year, the camp meeting preacher will be Bishop James Swanson and song leader will be Keith Martin. Worship begins Friday evening at 7:30. Services are held daily at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. through Wednesday. In addition, Sunday School is held at 10 a.m. and at 3 p.m. extra service is on schedule for Sunday.  

For more information contact David Rhodes, youth director, at 826-5796, Chance Ward, children’s camp director, at 754-6646 (Springfield Methodist Church), Shirley Palmer for camp site reservations at 352-3512 or Evelyn Helmly, dietician, for meal reservations at 826-5557. You are cordially invited by the Methodists to attend. As Effingham County grows and changes it is wonderful to find a 217-year-old tradition inviting newcomers to join with the faithful and share this moving experience.

Next week we will look at one of the founding fathers of camp meeting.

This article was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society.  If you have photographs, comments or information to share with Historic Effingham Society, please contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email: