WHAT'S A CAMP MEETING?
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HERITAGE LANDMARK
Camp Meeting Ground
Serving Christ in the Endless Mountains
What is a Camp Meeting?
In the late 1700s, a tradition was begun in America in which individuals eager
to spread their Christian faith gathered in revival-styled services for days
on end, first camping out under the stars, later in tents, and eventually in
wooden cottages all surrounding an open-air sanctuary. Originally, the
Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists were a part of the mix, but it was the
Methodist Episcopal Church that saw camp meetings as an integral part of
helping people renew their faith commitments while sharing
fellowship with like-minded individuals in their region.
By 1810, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury noted in his journal that it was his
hope that at least 600 camp meetings could be held annually throughout the
young United States. In 1807, the first known camp meeting in this area
occurred about 30 miles northwest of Dimock, near present-day Smithboro, New
York. It went on for four days and Asbury was in attendance during the
By the 1870s, plans were underway to install permanent camp meeting grounds in
each of the regional districts within the Methodist Episcopal Church's annual
conferences. The Dimock grounds were to serve the Wyalusing District, then
one of seven districts in the Methodist Episcopal Church's Wyoming
Conference. The Wyalusing District was dissolved in 1879, but camp meetings
A poster from 1936 for a camp meeting