100 Years of Seeking God Together
Sunday, June 28, will mark one hundred years since Florence Crawford preached the opening sermon at the first camp meeting at our current Duke Street location (read her sermon on page XX). A look back at 1920 history is a reminder that while some things have changed since then, others are strikingly similar. A century ago, the United States was emerging from a global pandemic that took the lives of millions. There was a deep racial divide with gross injustice, antisemitism, political infighting, corruption, and a wide income gap between the wealthy and the impoverished.
It was in that setting that hundreds of people representing all strata of life gathered on what we now know as the “old campground” to conduct the first camp meeting here. Since the tabernacle was not erected until a year later, the services in 1920 were held in a huge tent, with sawdust under the rows of benches and straw around the altars. One common feature with our current church settings is that it was a sanctuary—a retreat where the turmoil of the world was left outside. That did not mean there was no suffering or heartache among those who came. However, they enjoyed fellowship and found solace in worshiping God together. There was a measure of chaos across the country, but unity, in the spirit of Pentecost, among the people of God.
For the last century, believers from all walks of life have continued to enjoy unity in Christ. The article “Cross-Cultural Christianity” by Sister Antonia Schleicher (see page XX) expounds on the Bible teachings that help maintain harmony among believers, even those who come from vastly different backgrounds and perspectives. While society around us rejects God and therefore remains largely dysfunctional, those who come to the Gospel of Jesus Christ are reconciled to God and enjoy true fellowship with each other.
In this commemorative edition of our magazine, a number of the articles remind us of the camp meeting blessings for which we are grateful, even in this year when camp meeting cannot be held due to health risks and civic restrictions. On Sunday morning, June 28, a commemoration service will be held and webcast live from the campground. It will be a time to express appreciation for God’s blessings in the past, while anticipating what is in store for the future. Though the number in attendance will be limited, may we join together, in the spirit of camp meeting, with our prayers of gratitude to God.