Camp preaching stirs fond memories for Junior Hill

Clif Knight

Hartselle Enquirer

 

Junior Hill will be surrounded by fond memories when he steps to the podium in Hartselle’s historic Tabernacle to open the 117th encampment of Hartselle Camp Meeting on Sun., June 12, at 7 p.m.

The widely known Southern Baptist evangelist has become familiar with the setting after preaching the camp’s opening sermon for 10 consecutive years. He will be looking out on an audience of mostly home folks, lifelong friends from his boyhood days in Hartselle and faithful followers of his 60 years as a pastor and vocational evangelist.

“I didn’t attend the camp meetings much as a boy,” Hill said, “but some of my friends and I spent a good bit of time exploring the campground and playing in the caves at the back of the property.”

Hill said the Tabernacle’s sawdust covered dirt floors and handmade wooden benches remind him of his early evangelistic ministry.

“A rural community would call me to come preach a revival but needed a place to meet,” he recalled. “Their folks would put up a frame and cut branches of trees and make a brush arbor. I’d preach under lamplight. The setting was rustic but the atmosphere was electric thanks to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”

“Those kind of revivals are a thing of the past,” Hill pointed out, “and camp meetings have mostly disappeared.”

“I appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Camp Meeting Association to preserve the Tabernacle for well over 100 years and keep a rich Hartselle tradition alive and well,” Hill pointed out. “I’m always excited and honored for the opportunity to come back and preach.”

“As always, we’re excited and feel very fortunate to have Junior Hill come back to open the camp meeting,” said Rob Cain, president of Hartselle Camp Meeting Association. “We anticipate a big crowd and want everyone to stay after the service and help up honor Brother Junior on has 80th birthday. Ice cream and cake will be served in the Waits Dining Hall.”

Junior Hill began his ministry at age 19 and served as a pastor for 11 years in Alabama and Mississippi before entering vocational evangelism in 1967 as a full-time Southern Baptist evangelist.

A native of Hartselle, he received his B.S. Degree from Samford University and his Master of Divinity Degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his Doctor of Divinity Degree from Liberty University. He has also been awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Covington Seminary.

He has served as New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary recognized first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention and in 1995 as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

He has conducted over 1,700 revivals and numerous foreign crusades. In addition, he is a frequent speaker at pastors’ meetings, evangelistic conferences and seminaries and state conventions across the country. He is also author of 17 books.

Hill recently posted a full speaking itinerary for 2016 on his website, juniorhill ministries.com.

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