Camp Meet­ing starts this week

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

This year's meet­ing prom­ises one of the best pro­grams in its 188-year tra­di­tion.

A Newton County tra­di­tion that goes back al­most 200 years re­turns this week.

The Salem Camp Meet­ing runs from July 8 through 15 at the Salem Camp Ground, lo­cated at 3940 Salem Road.

The camp meet­ing is in its 188th it­er­a­tion, and this year fea­tures to be one of its best ac­cord­ing to camp pro­gram chair Sam Ram­sey.

“I’m very ex­cited about it be­cause the two preach­ers we have com­ing are as good as you can get,” Ram­sey said.

The fea­tured preach­ers will be Dr. Bill Burch, Se­nior Pas­tor of Lawrenceville first United Methodist Church and Dr. William Carl, III, Se­nior Pas­tor of In­de­pen­dent Pres­by­te­rian Church in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama.

Burch, or­dained in 1984, has served seven United Methodist Churches in the North Ge­or­gia re­gional body. He grad­u­ated with a Bach­e­lor’s of Arts from Berry Col­lege, a Masters of Di­vin­ity form the Can­dler School of Theology of Emory Univer­sity and a Doc­tor­ate of Min­istry from McCormick The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary at the Univer­sity of Chicago.

Carl, be­fore go­ing to In­de­pen­dent Pres­by­te­rian Church, served as Pres­i­dent of Pitts­burgh The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary for 10 years. He grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Tulsa and earned his Mas­ter of Di­vin­ity from Louisville Sem­i­nary and a Ph.D. from the Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh in Rhetoric and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Carl has au­thored eight books and more than 75 ar­ti­cles in na­tional jour­nals.

This is Carl’s third time preach­ing at Salem, af­ter ap­pear­ing in 1988 and 2002. “He’s just a peach of a fella,” Ram­sey said. Also ap­pear­ing at Salem this year is rev. Dr. Case Thorp, Se­nior As­so­ciate Pas­tor at First Pres­by­te­rian Church of Or­lando, and camp meet­ing reg­u­lars Rev. Jonathan An­der­son, Rev. An­drew Cov­ing­ton, Alice Walker and Becky Ram­sey and Thomas Roberts.

Other fea­tures of the camp meet­ing will be the Cov­ing­ton Beth­le­hem Bap­tist Church Choir ap­pear­ing Fri­day night, the honor­ing of Rev. Hezekiah Ben­ton, the choir from De­catur Pres­by­te­rian Church and a 7-year-old vi­o­lin­ist.

Carl, Burch and Thorp are just three of the hun­dreds of preach­ers to ed­u­cate and en­lighten the campers at Salem through­out the 52 years Ram­sey has been pro­gram chair. The camp meet­ing, how­ever goes back even fur­ther than that with nu­mer­ous other preach­ers com­ing to Newton County.

Ram­sey is a sixth gen­er­a­tion mem­ber of the Salem Camp meet­ing, whose an­ces­tor Ge­orge Cun­ning­ham was the first recorded child born in Newton County in 1821. His fam­ily has had a strong pres­ence at the Salem Camp Meet­ing ever since.

The 2016 meet­ing kicks off Fri­day, July 8 with Sup­per at the Salem Ho­tel, fol­lowed by Walker and Becky Ram­sey play­ing grand pi­anos and Burch preach­ing.

The camp meet­ing runs through Fri­day, July 15 with Burch preach­ing, the Beth­le­hem Bap­tist Church Choir per­form­ing and a can­dle­light clos­ing ser­vice at 9:30 p.m.

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