Friday, June 3, 2005
ALMOST HEAVEN, WEST VIRGINIA. This photo is of the old tabernacle at the West Virginia District Church of the Nazarene Campgrounds near Summersville, West Virginia. On these grounds and in surrounding woods I played as a child and courted girls as an adolescent. I listened and responded to inspirational singing and intense evangelistic preaching. I spent at least two weeks each summer at Summersville Camp from the time I was a toddler until the summer before my senior year in high school. We moved from West Virginia to Indiana in August, 1976. I have not been back since. Still, I think of Summersville Campgrounds as holy ground.
ANOTHER SACRED PLACE. I traveled to Clay City, Indiana Thursday evening for two days of the Annual Conference of the Wabash Conference of the Free Methodist Church. Wabash Park Campground is sacred grounds for most Hoosiers who happen to be Free Methodist. It's really not much to look at, but the sacred memories of kids and youth camping, family camp, and revival services over the years make it a place of value for FMs. The campground, which is being continuously upgraded, will celebrate 75 years at Family Camp in July.
FROM CLAY CIT TO COAL CITY. I took my Cannondale (it rides atop the Beetle), got up early this morning, and rode about twenty miles before breakfast. Clay City is authentically rustic. I pedaled to Coal City, which is on Indiana Highway 59 about 10 miles south of Clay City. Coal City is more rustic than Clay City. No dogs on the road. Very light traffic. It feels like the first real heat of the summer is setting in. It was over 75 degrees by the time I got back to the campground.
WEST VIRGINIA CONNECTION. Our Annual Conference had an interesting twist: our Wabash Conference welcomed 16 congregations and their pastors from West Virginia. Their conference is being temporarily merged with ours until their capacity increases to the required membership for an independent Free Methodist Conference. I enjoyed talking with the West Virginians. They are what I remember (will they help me recover a part of myself?)--open, fun-loving, transparent, friendly, and deeply spiritual. Perhaps this connection will take me back more frequently to West Virginia in coming years.