History

Camp Ground United Methodist Church has a rich and fascinating history.  This history can be a source of entertainment and inspiration as we learn about those who created the heritage of which we are heirs!

We have an enormous archive but we need help in organizing the documentation for research and preservation.  If you are interested in serving on this important mission, please call the church office at (910) 867-9436.

We will be adding documentation to this page as it is available for your enjoyment!

 

Camp Ground Chronicles

(from a 1980 Building Commemoration Ceremony)

Camp Ground of Yesteryear laid the foundation for Camp Ground of Today.  Those brave men and women, who were the first to worship at Camp Ground, were first and second generation descendants of the courageous people who settled in the Cape Fear River area the Century before.

The name Camp Ground tells the story of the Church that had its beginning in Camp Meetings, but how early such meetings were held is uncertain.  In the minutes of the First Quarterly Conference held at Mossy Springs, on May 15, 1841, Camp Ground is referred to as a Church.  At that meeting, David Derrick was the Presiding Elder, I. P. Kesten, who served nine Churches, was Charge Preacher, and Archibald McKay was Secretary.  The next report showed $15.00 had been collected at Camp Ground that year.

According to tradition, The First Place of Worship at Camp Ground was a Brush Arbor, which stood on the spot where the new Sanctuary now stands.  Later, a Log Building was erected and used for worship, until some years later it was destroyed by fire.  The historic two-story Colonial Church edifice, still standing on the Church property, was the Third Place of Worship.  That old Sanctuary was standing in 1858, according to a Deed, recorded in Cumberland County Court House.  The Deed was made and signed by Archibald McKay, on the fifth day of January, 1858, to “E. S. Hobbs, John Buie, Jesse Ellis, Arch Buie, and Thos I. Owen, Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Beaver Creek Camp Ground…including the Church, Grave Yard, and Arbor and containing nine acres and a half….”

Eighty-five years later, in 1943, at the height of World War II, when the Reverend H.R. Ashmore was Pastor, a cinder block hut was built on the Church grounds for Church and Boy Scout activities.  The Reverend T. J. Whitehead was the Pastor, when the building was dedicated on November 4, 1945, and given the name Bundy Hut, in honor of the Reverend J. D. Bundy, Charge Pastor from 1891-1894.

During the Pastorate of Reverend James A. Auman, in the year 1952, a ten-room Church School Building was added at the back of the Sanctuary.  Two years later, on February 7, 1954, the Dedication Service was held.  Eddie G. Brisson, a member of Camp Ground, was the builder.

1954 was a very important year in the history of old Camp Ground, for it was that year that the Church went Station, and the first full-time Pastor was The Reverend James A Auman.  The increased budget and other obligations connected with a Pastor full time presented a challenge, which the congregation met, but sometimes they had to “beat the bushes.”

The picture of Camp Ground remained the same for a decade:  The old Sanctuary, with the two-story brick building at the rear, and Bundy Hut off to a side.  A new Sanctuary had been on the hearts and minds of many members for years.  The dreams began to become a reality, when David B. Owen left in his will a sum of money to the Church to be put in a fund for the purpose of building a new Sanctuary.  Upon receipt of the bequest in 1958, the David B. Owen Building Fund was established.

Camp Ground of Today in 1980 was the Camp Ground of Tomorrow in 1960, in the heart of the Pastor, The Reverend Robert E. Walston, when he appointed a Planning Committee to study the needs of Camp Ground.  The beautiful new building complex today is the result of the work, dreams, and prayers of the people, during the ensuing years.

The Centennial Celebration in 1962 presented a challenge that the “Camp Ground of Tomorrow must reach out to take care of the needs of the vast multitude of people within its bounds…Never has a Church been given a greater opportunity to witness right at home…Camp Ground must change in order to fulfill its mission in the community…must build for The Camp Ground of Tomorrow.”

Meeting that challenge began with the Ground Breaking Service for the new Sanctuary on August 4 1963, while the Reverend M. W. Maness was Pastor.  One year later a Consecration Service was held, and the Reverend J. Malloy Owen, III preached the Sermon.  A $20,000 Grant was received from Duke Endowment, and on October 12, 1969, the Dedication Service was held, while the Reverend R. Dennis Ricks was Pastor.

Constant, progressive work and planning, teamed with wise counseling and guidance, proved to be the prime factor implementing the successful completion of the building program.  Soon after the erection of the Sanctuary, plans were already under way for the construction of a Church School building.  However, the Building Committee took time to convert the basement room under the Sanctuary into a Church Office-Study, in 1965, for the new Pastor, the Reverend R.T. Commander.

A Building Crusade, under the direction of Dr. Edgar E. Walker, of the National Board of Missions, was held the week of April 30 – May 7, 1967.  It was a successful Crusade, with much activity and Lay involvement, and much interest was stimulated in stewardship – a prerequisite for launching the second phase of the building program.  The Crusade projected the future needs of the Church for additional classrooms, fellowship hall and administrative offices, as well as the renovation of the existing classrooms.  On December 10, 1967, Mr. Commander appointed a Planning Committee, which immediately went to work to draw up plans.

When the Sanctuary was dedicated in 1969, the congregation was well prepared to move forward with the new building project.  The Trustees had approved the construction of additional buildings and recommended that the Church School unit be built first.  On April 5, 1970, the Ground Breaking Service was held, and work began on the Fellowship Hall which was completed that Fall.  The new classrooms were ready for use in January 1971.  During the construction of the new units, the Reverend R. Dennis Ricks was the Pastor.  Bishop William R. Cannon lead the Consecration Service held on February 7, 1971, assisted by Dr. Graham S. Eubank, District Superintendent, L. C. Vereen, from the Board of Missions, and the Pastor.

This is Camp Ground Today in 1980:  A beautiful Church edifice and building complex, with all the rooms attractively furnished and well equipped to carry on the work program of the Church.  Since 1971, a Kindergarten-Day Care Center operates in the Education Building.  The Pastor, the Reverend Vassar W. Jones, is now serving in his fifth year, with a full-time Secretary and a Director of Religious Education.  With Mr. Jones as Pastor, the Church membership has increased from 740 to 944, the balance of the building indebtedness has been paid, and today, the buildings are dedicated.  $623,780 is the estimated value of the new structures.

Camp Ground’s day has come!  Is Camp Ground prepared to meet that challenge?  That challenge is even greater to an ever increasing number of people within her reach.  We can see the changes in the physical structure at Camp Ground.  Spiritual growth can be seen as distinctly obvious in the fruits of the Spirit.  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  (Gal. 5:22-25).  “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35).  Christ commanded His Disciples:  “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem…Judea…Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)  His command is the same to us today in 1980.  To the 944 members at Camp Ground, His command is to begin in our own community – right here at Camp Ground.

Camp Ground Today must obey the command of Christ to witness for Him each day.  We bear the name of Christian, and we must be Christ to everyone we meet.  Christ is depending on us, and He has promised to be with us.  With His help, we will fulfill the mission of Camp Ground Today!