The 2014 camp meeting is history. Have you seen our current web page?
We welcome people of all denominations who wish to join with us to worship God as we continue our annual camp meeting tradition in Central Arkansas. The annual community-wide camp meeting is held under an open-air arbor (tabernacle) featuring old-fashioned church services for 7 nights. Each night a different group provides special music from 7 PM to 7:30 PM followed by the congregation singing old hymns and a sermon by the camp meeting evangelist. Wednesday night is youth night. A nursery is available for children 5 years old and younger. Sunday night only, supper will be served in the fellowship hall at 5:30 PM.
We no longer camp out for a week or two in tents or cabins, and we only have one service in the evening, but we still enjoy worshipping God and celebrating the tradition of camp meeting. Ceiling fans circulate the air, but it still may be hot. You are welcome to bring lawn chairs and sit outside the arbor if you wish. There is no admission charge. An offering will be received. If you have never attended camp meeting, you do not know what you are missing. We hope you can join us this year.
The Salem campground is just north of Benton, Arkansas and a few miles southwest of Little Rock Arkansas.
Guest Minister: Rev. J. Wesley Hilliard, pastor of Heritage Church in Van Buren, Arkansas. He and his wife Allison have been married 27 years and have two children, Lindsay Hilliard (23) and Libby Hilliard (19).
Wes Hilliard is a graduate of Siloam Springs High School, The University of Tulsa, and U.S. Army schools. He earned his Master's of Divinity Degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Wes has been a full time pastor since 1992 serving churches in Northwest Arkansas including Pea Ridge, Rogers, and Fayetteville. He has pastored in Van Buren since 2001. Pastor Hilliard refuses to "play church", and encourages people to come forward after the service to be annointed with oil and prayed for.
Colonel Wes Hilliard has served in the military since 1985 and deployed to Iraq in 2008 with the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He enjoys playing guitar, working out, and riding his motorcycle. He tries to spend most of his free time with his family.
Let everyone join in singing the old hymns! At 7:30 PM Lynn Hoggard leads the congregation in singing some old hymns, accompanied by pianist Kathleen Dockery.
Lynn Hoggard of Benton is a retired band director and has been performing since he began singing solos in church as a 3-year-old. He comes from a large musical family. He taught band, vocal music and music education in public schools in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas, including Bryant and Bauxite. He sang professionally with the Four Jacks Quartet and has performed with a number of bands through the years.
For several years, Hoggard has played stand-up bass for Royal Players productions at the Royal Theatre in Benton. He currently sings with the Ouachita State University faculty quartet. Hoggard is a graduate of England High School and Arkansas State Teachers College (now University of Central Arkansas), where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He holds a Master of Music Education degree from Wichita State University. Hoggard is married to the former Carolyn Couch. They have two sons and one grandchild.
Kathleen Dockery serves as praise team director and pianist for contemporary and traditional worship services at Oaklawn United Methodist Church in Hot Springs. She has never lost her childhood enthusiasm for and enjoyment of music which is so evident as she plays the piano in her unique and sometimes flamboyant way.
Dockery has been involved in gospel singing conventions for at least 50 years as the pianist and / or an officer. She is the secretary treasurer for the Arkansas River Valley Gospel Singing Convention in Atkins, Arkansas; former president of the Garland County Gospel Singing Convention in Hot Springs; the Arkansas State Gospel Singing Convention; and the Arkansas-Oklahoma Gospel Singing Convention. These conventions carry on the tradition of hosting gospel music concerts an entire weekend including Friday night, all day Saturday, and usually Saturday night. You can see a Gospel Singing Convention Schedule that includes Arkansas events here, and a schedule of mostly Texas gospel music festivals here.
Dockery has taught piano privately for many years and taught for 44 years in the Hot Springs and Lakeside school systems. She is the mother of two children and grandmother of seven, including two sets of twins.
If you have any camp meeting memories, stories, comments, or pictures; please share them with us on our Facebook page where you will find pictures from recent camp meetings and a few older ones. If you have questions that are not answered here, please call the Salem UMC at 501-316-2282.
The open arbor (tabernacle) where camp meetings are held is a tangible and functional reminder of the days when people actually camped for a couple of weeks in the fall after the crops were harvested. Although the arbor is owned by the Salem United Methodist Church, and the speaker is a Methodist, we hope that all Christians will feel welcome to come to camp meeting and worship God as a community the way our forefathers did.
The camp meetings are organized and run by the Salem Camp Meeting Association which meets each year on Sunday afternoon following the last service. Anyone who wishes to attend the annual meeting is considered a member. The association elects a board which meets several times a year to conduct camp meeting business. The camp meeting association pays all expenses of the camp meeting. Thanks to everyone who has contributed their talent, time, and efforts to the annual camp meetings, and a special thanks to a few people who have generously contributed to recent improvements such as the concrete floor, seat cushions, improved lighting, and additional ceiling fans. New in 2013: 7 nice pews donated by the Vilonia, UMC.