Camp meeting lithograph

The early Methodist camp meetings were held outdoors for several days with attendees setting up tents around the pulpit. Image by Jacques Gérard Milbert (1766-1840) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Beginning on January 10th and extending throughout the month, worship services at John Wesley will take on a relaxed atmosphere with old-time hymn singing and personal testimonies from members. Camp meetings have returned!

This year the services will take place in the Leisure Ministries Room at 8:30 and 11 AM because of ongoing work in our sanctuary. During camp meetings, worshippers are encouraged to dress casually, call out the hymn selections and hear from fellow Christians about the power of Jesus Christ in their lives.

Visitors are always welcome to join these services which have their roots in early Methodism of 18th century America.

Because of social distancing needs, those who want to attend the camp meeting services should sign up through the weekly sign-up genius form linked from our home page.

The original camp meetings usually took place in rural areas during the summer. People would travel great distances and set up tents to stay for a few days and listen to preaching. Francis Asbury, who saw camp meetings as vital to Methodist evangelism, wrote in a letter dated December 2, 1802, describing the purpose as, “To collect such a number of God’s people together to pray and the ministers to preach, and the longer they stay, generally the better.” Asbury considered the camp meetings as “fishing with a large net”, citing Matthew 4:19 where Jesus told his disciples to follow him and they would become fishers of men.