Each summer—and practically overnight—the campground on Duke Street turns into an active little community with a population of as many as 2,000 inhabitants. Though the duration of the annual sessions has been shortened, members from the United States and foreign countries still find them a refreshing and spiritually challenging time. Over the years, these annual gatherings have established an indescribably precious bond between members around the world.
Throughout the camp meeting, members of the Portland congregation work shoulder-to-shoulder with foreign visitors, pastors, and workers from branch churches to accomplish the tasks that keep camp meeting running. For all the efforts and for all the prayers offered, there is a worthwhile reward—seeing souls brought to the Christ of Calvary. Attendees are thrilled as they witness hundreds of people pressing their way down the aisles to the place of prayer, just as they did in years past when people crowded the “sawdust trails.” At these altars, countless numbers have prayed through to the reality of a genuine experience with God.
During the two-week sessions, ministers and laymen from local and branch churches enter into an intensive study of God’s Word and become better equipped for service, as well as more united and strengthened in the faith.
Besides the hundreds who attend these services from points throughout the United States, visitors come every year from countries around the world. It requires a real sacrifice for some to make the long journey to Portland, but they are soon amply rewarded. Every attempt is made to ensure that those who attend feel at home as soon as they come onto the grounds. At the office, visitors are welcomed and assigned to their little cabin “home” for the duration of the convention.
Although the primary purpose of the camp meetings is not fellowship, God does add that joy also. Christian families and friends who have been laboring in distant fields of service for God meet on the grounds. In fact, each camp meeting seems to be a grand reunion of the children of God who gather from all parts of the world. Those who come for the first time soon feel that they are members of this big family too, and all enjoy this special time together.