Rural Missouri - July 2013 - (Page 8)

The faithful find the spirit at Lake Creek Camp Meeting This month marks the 170th year that the faithful have flocked to the Lake Creek Methodist Church’s camp meeting held under a giant tent near the church five miles south of Smithton. While there are other camp meetings held in Missouri, this is considered to be the oldest such gathering west of the Mississippi River. T by Jim McCarty hey came on horseback or by wagon. They brought their milk cows and packed bedding for an extended stay. They pitched tents in a clearing. Here, surrounded by nature, they praised God in a chorus of hallelujahs in the forest during the first of what would become many camp meeting revivals. When the 2013 Lake Creek Camp Meeting is held July 28-Aug. 4, it will mark 170 years since those believers first gathered. “It’s an annual event that started in 1843,” says the Rev. Jason Veale, pastor of the Lake Creek and Smithton United Methodist churches. “During that time, they only missed two camp meetings. One was during the Civil War and the other was during the flu epidemic of 1918.” The origins of camp meetings — religious revivals where those attending camp for the duration — can be traced back to Kentucky preacher James McGready, who hosted a wilderness revival in 1800. This grew into meetings that lasted weeks and brought thousands to worship. Camp meetings appealed to the German Methodists who were moving to Missouri, following the Osage River west into the interior of the state. One of the most active groups settled in Pettis County along Lake Creek, southeast of Sedalia. The first Lake Creek camp meeting in 1843 was led by circuit-riding preacher Sebastian Barth, who used the event to gather converts and supporters for a church. The first 8 stomachs, allowing none log church was built to go away hungry.” in 1844, and the camp Rough-hewn cabmeetings continued. ins that provided a few By 1878, the Sedalia To watch a video from last Democrat reported, “The year’s camp meeting, click more creature comforts soon popped up around German Methodists this button inside our the tabernacle in the are holding an olddigital edition, online at center of the field. These fashioned camp cabins were torn down ing on the banks of the and moved to the camp classic stream known as meeting’s present location in 1891. Lake Creek. It is estimated that 1,500 There were four rows of cabins persons were in attendance Sunday. built at the new location, along with A more orderly meeting was never two others for the pastor and visiting held. They reach sinners through their The Rev. Cody Collier, Heartland South District superintendent for the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church, was one of the featured speakers at the 2012 Lake Creek Camp Meeting. Guest preachers may be from many denominations. WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP preachers. A wooden framework that supported a canvas tent was built, and benches were hewn from logs. At the south end of the tent, 13 oak trees were planted symbolizing Jesus and the 12 disciples. One tree, representing Judas, was separated from the others on the southeast corner. The Jesus tree was at the center and was planned so that the tent rope could be anchored to it. These trees still stand at the site. At first, bonfires and oil lanterns provided the only light. A Delco generator was tried for a time, but that ended in 1949 when Central Missouri Electric Cooperative extended its power lines to the camp meeting, making possible electric lights and refrigeration for the first time. Camp meeting was traditionally held the first weekend in August. “Back in the 1800s when the farm family had planted and harvested the spring crops but hadn’t started the fall harvest yet, there was a gap of time,” says Jason. “The families would stay in cabins. They would bring a milk cow and food and stay the entire week.” Six to eight preachers were usually on hand, and services were held five times a day for many years. All sermons were in German until 1900, when a single English-speaking preacher spoke. English became the only language spoken following backlash against Germans in the wake of World War I. The coming of cars also changed the way the services were held. In the beginning, men would ride horses home to care for livestock during the day, returning at night for services. As cars became more common, fewer http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2013

Rural Missouri - July 2013
That old-time religion
Natural nest
Long-distance lead
Out of the Way Eats
Hearth and Home
Keep it cool
On the banks of Bull Shoals
Retro renovations
Infamous ancestry
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - July 2013