The Spirit of God was powerfully at work among those who gathered for Camp Meeting at Jacksonville Campground located in beautiful Downeast Maine Aug. 26-28, 2022
Weeklong Camp Meetings became popular among Methodists in the early 1800s in New England. These Camp Meetings contributed to tremendous growth of the Methodist Church. Camp Meetings functioned as holy space and time apart where people could focus on loving God and one another, primarily through worship and prayer.
So how did this 200-year-old tradition resurface now? After the New England Annual Conference met virtually in June of 2021, Sarah Mount Eleownoni commented to Bishop Devadhar that we need to be more connected.
“It would do us good to have more time together by holding a Camp Meeting in each district,” she said.
He replied, “Let’s try a pilot project.”
A planning team formed in the Katahdin District, resulting in the Camp Meeting in Jacksonville!
The Jacksonville Camp Meeting began on Friday, Aug. 26, with supper, followed by an opening worship service. Children led the adults in a song found in Enoch Mudge’s Camp Meeting Hymnal of 1818. Ron Chaffee preached, sharing some of the history of the camp, and highlighting some humorous trivia of the camp (how many ways can you serve hot dogs?!).
Saturday Bible study kindled hearts before breakfast. After breakfast, everyone gathered for morning worship. Grace Han, age 7, read the scripture, the Han family sang a praise song while Victor played guitar, and Victor Han preached. Following worship, Devotions in Motion, offered on the field near the dining hall, invited folks of all ages to enjoy sacred movement in nature.
The afternoon allowed time for small group discussion, crafts, hiking, and swimming. Bishop Devadhar and his wife, Prema, joined us in the evening, and Bishop Devadhar preaching at the evening worship, with a special anointing at the close of worship.
Early risers enjoyed gathering Sunday morning for Bible study. Spencer Shaw preached at the morning worship, followed by a special time to remember our baptism and shared communion. Did we mention how much singing we did during our worship together? We nearly raised the roof … a sure sign of a great Methodist worship experience!
The theme of the weekend was based upon 2 Timothy 1:6 “Rekindle the gift of God that is within you!” There were many gifts of God shared during the weekend, as well as rekindled gifts, carried home with each participant, to be shared anew in their communities of faith and the wider world. Praise the Lord for Methodist Camp Meetings!