Camp meeting time

Camp meeting kicks off 117th encampment

Randy Garrison

Hartselle Enquirer

 

The Hartselle Tabernacle was again filled with worshipers sitting on the wooden pews and walking on sawdust, just as many have done in the 117 years past. While there were electric ceiling fans helping to stir the air, there were no doubts those attending were worshiping in an open area.

Fans were passed out to those attending and were put to use just as in years gone by. The electric keyboard and sound system, along with electric lights, gave a sense of modern times to the hallowed structure. But the breeze blowing through the open sides, after a short summer shower, made the summer temperatures a little more bearable for those in attendance.

The evening kicked off with a meal being served in the Waits Dining Hall. Around 6:20 p.m. those coming to the worship service began to arrive. While some sat outside in lounge chairs, the majority of the worshippers sat on the old wooden pews, with a cushion on the bottom.

Rev. Rob Cain welcomed all in attendance and thanked them for coming to the 117th Encampment of the Hartselle Tabernacle. After the welcome, Ron Puckett opened the service with prayer. The choir from Hartselle First United Methodist Church provided the music for the worship service along with congregational singing. One of the old hymns, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” always a camp meeting favorite, was included.

The Rev. Phil Waldrep spoke and introduced the opening night speaker, the Rev. Junior Hill. However, to most in attendance Rev. Hill needed no introduction.

Before Rev. Hill came to give the message, Cain read a proclamation from Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill. The proclamation recognized the Rev. Junior Hill for his upcoming 80th birthday and for his many years of preaching as an evangelist.

Rev. Hill spoke on Jesus being the door and how it was big enough for all who chose to enter to be able to come in and be saved. He also mentioned how that at some point those who chose not to enter would find the door closed.

Rev. Hill also injected humor into his sermon sharing his $100 bill story. A man gave him a $100 bill, during his early years at a revival. He had never had one before and was very excited about this. However, this did not last long, just a short time later he felt the Lord tell him to give the $100 bill to a preacher needing new tires. He mentioned he had received and given away many of those bills during his ministry, to someone who was in need.

He ended his message with three points; Jesus will supply what is needed, he will sustain what we have and will cause us to be satisfied with what we do not have.

After the final hymn and the invitation was given, the worshippers were invited to head back to the dining hall for cake and ice cream. Rev. Junior Hill will turn 80 years old on July 5th, and the celebration after the service was in his honor.

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