“We just feel like God was guiding that decision,” said Pine Log UMC Children’s Minister Amie Wilson about holding the Backyard Bible Camp in the midst of the Camp Meeting. “Also a lot of churches have their Bible school in June and so it was just a way to offer something for kids in July. And Camp Meeting is our big revival.
“... So much time and effort and prayer goes into Camp Meeting that we felt like it would just be a good fit. We have so many kids visiting from families that have come to Camp Meeting for generations and kids will come back and their kids and their grandkids will come back year after year. So we just thought it would be a good thing to offer for them as well as just a wonderful community outreach too.”
From 9 to 11:30 a.m., the Bible Camp — a free offering for youth age 4 to rising sixth-graders — will feature a wide range of activities, including music, crafts and Bible lessons.
“The big focus of it is teaching kids to serve others,” Wilson said. “The main focal Bible verse of it is from Mark and the emphasis from that passage in Mark is that the kids learn to love God first and foremost and then they learn how to love others. So each day of Backyard Bible Camp we have a different service focus. One day they learn how to serve their family, another day to serve their friends, serving Jesus, serving their community and serving their neighbors. So we just feel like it’s important to teach kids the joy and the Biblical basis that can be found in serving others.”
As with the rest of the community, the children also will be invited to attend the Camp Meeting services at 7 p.m.
“This is a very special time in the life of our church,” stated the Rev. Geoff Grubbs in a news release. “Two former pastors of Pine Log, Rev. Dr. Mike Cash and Rev. Kirk Bozeman, will be leading us this year in worship and song [at] both the 1 p.m. Bible study and the 7 p.m. worship.
“We begin the week on Sunday, [July] 21 with Homecoming and [conclude] the week on Saturday, [July] 27 with a pig roast and Ezekiel 33, a Southern gospel quartet. We invite children from the entire community to participate in Backyard Bible Camp in the morning from 9 a.m. [to] 11:30 a.m. and bring their parents back each evening [at] 7 p.m. for worship and fellowship. Children may register and request transportation by registering online or calling the church office.”
While the exact date is unknown, Pine Log UMC Historian Wade Wilson said the church’s Camp Meeting started about 180 years ago.
“We have had a very long history of camp meetings here,” said Wilson, the husband of Amie Wilson. “... Their camp meetings in the earlier days, since we were a rural agriculture society [then] and most of the church people were farmers, what they would do is between the harvest season, probably around late August and September, they would bring their families up to the church and the campground.
“They’d bring everything they needed to survive — cows, chickens, whatever they needed to live at the church for at that time two weeks. And they would have services every day. We’ve got some literature basically showing some of the service times and there was at one point where they actually had four services a day. Now we just have two. We have a Bible study earlier in the day and we have our evening services.”
While each attendee has various favorite memories of previous camp meetings, he said there is one gathering in particular that still is highlighted to this day. The church at 3497 Pine Log Road in Rydal is widely known for events surrounding a South Carolina earthquake in 1886.
“During the Civil War, our campground burned,” Wade Wilson said. “It wasn’t due to any Civil War activity. It was just [a] forest fire [that] started in the woods behind the church came down the mountain [and] burned all the tents down as well as the tabernacle. However, our existing sanctuary, which was built in 1842, was actually saved. It didn’t get burned down. The Pine Log area, even though there wasn’t a lot of troop movement and a lot of action during the Civil War in Pine Log, it was still devastated. Over 20 families directly related to our church had young men that went off to war that didn’t come back. So there’s a lot of loss there as well as social economic depression of the South after losing the war.
“They didn’t build back the tabernacle or campground but they continued having services. They had it in our sanctuary that we have now. So it was on Aug. 31, 1886, Rev. J.N. Sullivan was preaching Camp Meeting services at the end of the last night. He felt like he didn’t have a positive response to his message and he prayed this prayer. He said, ‘Lord if it takes it to enter the hearts of these people, shake the grounds on which this building stands.’ As soon as he got done, the ground began to shake. It was a result of a violent earthquake that shook Charleston, S.C., on the same day. And the effects were felt right at Pine Log. Obviously at the time, people were affected by this occurrence and in two years time the tabernacle we have now was built and then the tents were built around the outside too.”
For more information about Pine Log UMC’s upcoming offerings, call 770-386-2736 or visit www.pinelogumc.com or the church’s Facebook page.