If it's summer in Georgia it is time for camp meeting


      Whether the tradition began 163 or 183 years ago, one thing is certain: camp meeting is a long-standing and much-anticipated custom in North Georgia.
       The faithful set aside a week to 10 days, either commuting or staying on site, for the annual outdoor revival. The days are filled with worship services, meals and ice cream socials, and catching up with family and friends not seen since the last gathering.
      While the modes of transportation have changed, and campground accommodations have modernized, camp meetings continue to play an important role in the history of Methodism.
       Virtually everything surrounding these campgrounds has changed dramatically since their inception.
         Yet the message, and the purpose for gathering, remains the same.
    Here are a few camp meetings within the North Georgia Conference: 
Salem – July 8-15
      The 183rd historic session will be held at Salem Camp Ground, 25 miles east of Atlanta, 3 miles south of I-20 at 3940 Salem Road. Services will be held at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. with special music beginning 15 minutes before each service. Guest speakers will be Dr. Don Martin of Alpharetta UMC and Dr. Brian Dunks of Columbus Avenue Baptist in Waco, Texas. Dr. Thomas Roberts of Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., will direct music. Alice Walker and Becky Ramsey of Covington will celebrate their 40th anniversary of paying duo grand pianos. Special choirs will be featured at each service. Meal reservations are available at Salem Hotel by calling 770-786-6841. www.salemcampmeeting.org
Lumpkin – July 25-31
      Services will be held at 11 a.m., 3 and 7:45 p.m. daily, after opening with a 7:45 p.m. service July 25 and closing with 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. services July 31. The Dawson County camp meeting will feature evangelists James Smith and Pete Martin. Eddie Tatum will lead music. Zack Dunbar will be youth leader and Laurel Mullinax will be children’s leader. The campground is just off Hwy 400 at 105 Lumpkin Campground Road, behind North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall. www.lumpkincampground.org.
Antioch – July 17-25
        The Gainesville camp meeting has set up July 15-17 as move-in dates for tent owners and campers. Opening service at 11 a.m. July 17 features the Rev. Randy Strickland of Antioch UMC. An open house of the new Preacher’s Tent will be held noon-1 p.m. and dedicated at 6:45 p.m.
      Guest pastors include Steve Wood from Mt. Pisgah UMC, Peter Barlow from Lakeland UMC. www.antiochcampground.org.
end_of_the_skype_highlightTop ofHolbrook – July 15-24
      The 173rd session of the Cherokee County tradition will feature the Rev. Sven Mosinger from McKee's UMC in Dawsonville, and Dr. Barry Crocker from Cumming Baptist Church as guest pastors.
       Host pastor is Dr. Sam Newman from Macedonia UMC. Song leader will be Dr. Robert Brown and Denise Brown. Services are 8 p.m. July 15, 11 a.m., 3 and 8 p.m. July 16-23, and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. July 24.  Holbrook Campground is at 2415 Holbrook Campground Rd., one mile off Hwy. 20 between Cumming and Canton. www.holbrookcampmeeting.com.
Marietta-  July 15-24
        Guest ministers for this 174th year will be the reverends John Moeller, Jim Perry and Brian Germano.  A free special Celebration Event will begin at 12:30 p.m. July 16 featuring slow-cooked barbecue, grilled chicken and hot dogs, carnival games, moonwalks, inflatables, sno-cones, sand art and cotton candy. A watermelon-cutting will take place after the 7:30 p.m. service that day. www.mariettacampmeeting.com.
Pine LogJuly 24-31
      The campground is part of the Pine Log UMC campus at 3497 Pine Log Road, Rydal.
Poplar Springs – July 22-31
      The Rev. Don Nestor, pastor of the Canon Charge, is host pastor. A memorial service will begin at 7 p.m. July 22, and a gospel singing is set for 7 p.m. July 23. District Superintendent Gary Whetstone will speak at the 11 a.m. service July 24. The Rev. Scott Newton Smith of Knoxville, Tenn., will preach at 7 p.m. each evening. Local pastors will address the 11 a.m. services.
        The campground is in Canon at 826 New Franklin Church Rd., on GA 327 near Carnesville. According to a historical marker, “Camp meetings have been held here since 1832, except four years during the War Between The States.”