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Tucker’s Grove Camp Meeting bringing worship, family together

Tucker’s Grove trustees Albert Saunders (left) and Haywood Thompson set up for the Big Sing in 1996.

Tucker’s Grove trustees Albert Saunders (left) and Haywood Thompson set up for the Big Sing in 1996.

ANNIE BLACKBURN
Staff Writer

Though it may look like a ghost town out of the Old West, the campground where Tucker’s Grove Camp Meeting is held every year comes very much alive on Aug. 15.
Thousands of people from neighboring churches will gather for two weeks to share in fellowship and worship.
The annual camp meeting gets underway on Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. with the Blessing of the Grounds. The schedule for the 2014 meeting is jam packed with five partnering churches.
Each church is hosting a guest preacher, some coming from locations as distant as Greensboro and Virginia.
Most worship, including preaching, bible studies and gospel singing, takes place underneath the large arbor that was constructed some time shortly after the campground was established in 1874.
Louis McClain has attended the camp meeting for as long as he can remember. The third-year chairman of the Tucker’s Grove Camp Meeting committee is responsible for making sure that the grounds are ready for the influx of people, but he recalls his grandfather bringing him to Tucker’s Grove.
“I’m 45,” McClain said. “My grandpa, he was one of the head trustees and of course, he would always bring us up, so I would say I’ve probably been going that long as well.”
Surrounding the large arbor that is filled with pews and sawdust are what campgrounds like Tucker’s Grove and Rock Springs refer to as “tents.” Rustic cabin-like structures are often owned by families for generations, and the wait list to get a tent at Tucker’s Grove for first-time visitors is 20 names long, according to Campground Secretary Elizabeth Anderson.

The Tucker’s Grove camp meeting in full swing in 2011.

The Tucker’s Grove camp meeting in full swing in 2011.

There will be a fundraiser on Saturday at the campground from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. with food, singing and dancing. The $10 plate price benefits the preservation of the historic arbor. The back four acres of the campground have recently been cleared to make way for more tents and parking for campers. Throughout the two-week camp meeting, the service and worship are a primary focus, but for Anderson, one of the best aspects of the annual camp meeting is family.
“We have family come in from out of town just for this,” Anderson said. “You get to see a lot of people that you haven’t seen. Everybody coming together.”
McClain echoed Anderson’s sentiments.
“The best thing with me is it’s something that all of us enjoy and love,” McClain said. “Pretty much, we get along when we come up here cause there’s something about the Spirit.”
Tucker’s Grove Camp Ground is located on Highway 73 in Iron Station.

Firemen put out a blaze that occurred in the early morning hours at Tucker’s Grove Campground in 1976. The damage was estimated at over $200,000.

Firemen put out a blaze that occurred in the early morning hours at Tucker’s Grove Campground in 1976. The damage was estimated at over $200,000.

Heads bowed and hands grasped, a circle of prayer closed a camp meeting service under the tin-roofed arbor at Tucker’s Grove Campground in 1990. Bessie and Fred Nixon Sr. reached out to their daughters Radiant Payne and Linda Hudson, who stood in the pew behind.

Heads bowed and hands grasped, a circle of prayer closed a camp meeting service under the tin-roofed arbor at Tucker’s Grove Campground in 1990. Bessie and Fred Nixon Sr. reached out to their daughters Radiant Payne and Linda Hudson, who stood in the pew behind.

Images courtesy of LTN Staff and Courtesy of Minuette Floyd

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