Sunday, August 05, 2007

118th Bloys Campmeeting begins Tuesday

NEWS RELEASE: JEFF DAVIS COUNTY - the 118th session of Bloys Campmeeting will open with the 8pm service on Tuesday, August 7th, in Skillman's Grove. About 5,000 persons are expected to be in attendance during the week-long session, which will end on Sunday, August 12. Bible study will be held daily at 9 a.m., with regular worship services at 11am, 3pm, and 8pm. Prayer meetings for men and women are held each day at 5pm. Youth and children's services, ranging from pre-school through college, are held at 10am and 8pm, with scheduled activities for the older youth daily. Everyone is invited to attend and participate in any of these services. We are getting ready to leave for Ft. Davis TX to participate in this week-long annual event - and we are most excited about it. Over our years in Midland, it has been our privilege to participate for a day or two on several occasions - but this will be our first full week. This is its story, taken from a couple of news releases: "To describe campmeeting in a sentence or a paragraph cannot be done...perhaps thats why the Bloys Campmeeting Association chose to simply post the camp hymn on its homepage - "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word." Building a strong foundation for the people of this region is what the Rev. William Benjamin Bloys set out to do when he organized the first campmeeting in 1890. Bloys, a Presbyterian missionary serving in Ft. Davis, rode from ranch house to bunk house in the vast tri-county area, ministering and attending to his scattered flock. It was in the home of John Z. Means that he began to formulate the idea for something called a "camp meeting." In 1890, Bloys was pleased to see 43 worshippers gathered under a brush arbor in Skillman's Grove for two days of fellowship. They stayed in canvas tents, ate as a congregation and socialized, too. As the number of attendees swelled over the next years, tin cabins were built and the group was split into separate camps according to the founding families." (There are now a large number of cabins built by the growing families - all built according to the same plan, simple and utilitarian, and all only available for use for about two weeks each year. There are no kitchens in the cabins, for everyone takes their meals together in one of the 4 family cooksheds. Now the campground also includes an RV park for use only during Bloys.) Each of the 4 denominations participating in the Campmeeting choose one to be in the pastoral leadership of Campmeeting. The Presbyterians have traditionally provided the Bible Study leader who teaches each morning at 9 a.m. Jerry will be teaching on the early chapters of Genesis this time. By tradition, the preaching rotation for the other services is not announced in advance! The United Methodists are represented by Bishop Bill Hutchison of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Disciples of Christ by the Rev. Tommy Potter of Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth; and the Baptists by the Rev. Jim Dennison of Dallas. We are so eager to hear Jim preaching--my friend from Monett, MO, Phyllis Garrett, has told me about Jim's morning devotions on the internet, which she reads faithfully--Jim begins his day early with his coffee, the Bible and the newspaper, and after spending time with all 3, he writes his daily devotion on the web. (You might want to check it out!) Located at a higher elevation than Midland, in the Davis Mountains, the weather is generally cooler than here at home. The skies are incredible, and I read in the morning paper that there will be plenty of meteor activity on the last weekend of Bloys Campmeeting. Some day, YOU might want to put Bloys Campmeeting on your list of travels - its a once-in-a-lifetime experience of Bible Study, preaching, worship, fellowship, outstanding food, and unbelievable music. The music is one of the strong memories I have from our previous visits - John Hutchison on the organ, Janet Pummill on the piano and Doug Pummill as song leader - and what great old hymns we do sing! Its quite a site to be sitting inside the Tabernacle, which is all open on the sides, seeing all those cowboy hats hung from the posts and rafters, and thousands singing praises to our Lord! Do stop by some always begins on the first Tuesday of August, but you better plan ahead - motels, hotels and nearby RV parks fill up quickly! You won't be hearing from me again until Bloys Campmeeting is over and we return to Midland - but then I'll send pictures. Love and hugs to all of you! Mary

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