SULPHUR SPRINGS — Area United Methodists and their neighbors will worship together Aug. 5-8, for the 193rd consecutive year during a camp meeting in Sulphur Springs near Jonesborough.
The Rev. Dr. Adam McKee, a United Methodist Church district superintendent in Oak Ridge, will be the camp’s guest preacher this year. McKee earned his Master of Divinity Degree from Virginia University and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University. He is also a 2010 graduate of Duke University Divinity Denominational Executive Leadership Program. McKee currently serves as District Superintendent of the Oak Ridge District of the Holston Conference United Methodist Church.
Music also will be lively and exciting, with a noted music leader, John Powers, directing. Powers is the son of a United Methodist Pastor. Powers is a well-known area music leader in the United Methodist Church, presently serving as music director for the Kingsley United Methodist Church in the Kingsport area. He also directs an ecumenical senior choir, the Silver Sounds, which includes singers from 12 different churches and several different denominations. Powers has been very active in the United Methodist Church. He holds degrees from Emory and Henry College and Virginia Tech in English, public speaking, theatre and education. He has taught English in several schools in the Tri-Cities area.
The Sunday through Wednesday evening gatherings occur at the historic camp shed in front of Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church, located on State Highway 75 about six miles south from Interstate 26, Gray-Appalachian Fair exit. The church address is 1432 Gray Sulphur Springs Road, Jonesborough.
Each evening, congregational singing will begin at 7 p.m., with the worship service beginning at 7:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, there will be a youth rally, with Rev. Dr. McKee speaking and music provided by the Sulphur Springs Praise Band. Immediately following at 6:30 p.m., a special program for children ages 5 to 9, will be led by Amber Willis Jeffers. The children’s program will include a light meal, Bible stories, singing, games and much more. A nursery will be provided each evening for infants and children to the age of four.
All events are free, although opportunities to make offerings will be provided. More information can be found at www.camp shed.com.
Both the campshed and the worship held on the site have played critical roles in the development of Methodism in Southern Appalachia. As early as 1802, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury wrote in his journal that he had attended a camp meeting in the area, with more than 1,500 people present. Most likely, Asbury attended a meeting held in a brush arbor. The gathering was formally organized in 1820, with the shed being built in 1842.
The shed was rebuilt in 1900, but the original hand-hewn logs were incorporated into the new structure and still can be seen today.
Originally, families traveled far to worship three times a day at the site for four or five days. Their long stays led to the construction of a series of cabins around the shed. These were torn down in the early 20th century as transportation improved and meetings became shorter.