Area faithful have flocked to camp meetings for generations
By now you’ve either been to Rock Springs Camp Meeting or have ridden by to see what the fuss is all about if you are not a regular.
For those of us who have grown up attending Camp Meeting, and those who perhaps reluctantly “married” in to it, the week is just about over. Some say “thankfully” while others are sad for this year’s session to be over. They are already looking forward to next year. Whether you love it or are indifferent, most people are at least curious about it. Camp meeting…it’s a God thing!
Next week (beginning this Sunday Aug. 12), nearby Balls Creek Camp Meeting begins. So those who just haven’t had enough can travel up Highway 16 and turn on Balls Creek Road to find it.
As a long-time Rock Springs Camp Meeting girl who has never attended Balls Creek, I have to favor my camp meeting over Balls Creek, but I’m sure the Balls Creek folks feel the same way.
We rode by their campground last week. It is different, for sure. Some even have air conditioners and many are painted. They even have separate electric meters so that everyone has to pay his or her own bill for power usage.
By the way, at Rock Springs we don’t have air-conditioning other than fans.
Balls Creek looks a bit odd to me, but then again, the tents of Rock Springs look unusual to some people.
Camp meetings have survived the ages, and even though some naysayers proclaim them as dying institutions, I am reminded that some people were saying the same thing more than 100 years ago. Shows you what they know.
The Presbyterians actually started the first camp meetings around here, but the Methodists were close behind with what ultimately became Rock Springs. The Presbyterian camp meeting, held near Unity Presbyterian Church, faded away, but Rock Springs thrived.
Following the lead of Rock Springs, Methodists just over the county line in Catawba began Balls Creek Camp Meeting back in 1853.
Similar to Rock Springs, Balls Creek also started with a brush arbor and those attending arrived in covered wagons. This weekend, they begin their 159th session.
Blacks, who had attended camp meetings with the whites (although they sat in different sections), started their own camp meetings at Tuckers and Motts Grove after the Civil War. Those get under way soon.
Today, camp meetings remain a testament to the religious faith of this area and they also say a lot about our family traditions.
So it is with reluctance, even though we still have a few days left of Rock Springs Camp Meeting, I am sad to see it go. There are 11 a.m. services and 7 p.m. nightly services through Friday and don’t forget the Bluegrass Concert this Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday begins with Sunday School at 10 a.m. and Big Sunday worship service at 11 a.m. with the camp meeting preacher Tony Matthews. The evening Farewell Communion Service is at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12.
“God be with you ‘til we meet again.”