HISTORY - 2015 Salem Camp Meeting - 7 PM nightly June 21 - 27

1647 Salem Road Benton, Arkansas 72019

Salem Campgrounds arbor

The 2015 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 camp meeting evangelist, Rev. Brad Elrod. 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.

The Salem campground is just north of Benton, Arkansas and a few miles southwest of Little Rock Arkansas.


The first night, 6/21
Activities begin at 5:30 PM

The schedule for each evening is:

  • 7 PM to 7:30 PM
    Special music

  • 7:30 PM - 8 PM
    Singing old hymns

  • 8 PM Sermon
    Rev. Brad Elrod

  • After service
    Refreshments and visiting
    in church fellowship hall
    (except first and last nights)

  • Nursery provided
    beginning at 7 PM

Special Music Schedule:

  • 6/21 Sunday:
    Salem UMC Church Choir
    Curt Hamlett, director

  • 6/22 Monday:
    Level Ground

  • 6/23 Tuesday:
    Randy Mason

  • 6/24 Wednesday:
    Greg Schick

  • 6/25 Thursday:
    Oaklawn UMC Praise Choir
    Kathleen Dockery, director

  • 6/26 Friday:
    Salem UMC Praise Team
    Laura Cross, leader

  • 6/27 Saturday:
    One Accord

  Let everyone join in singing the old hymns! At 7:30 PM the congregation sings several old familiar hymns. Some people come to the platform to form an impromptu choir.

At 8 PM hear the sermon by guest evangelist Rev. Brad Elrod. Rev. Elrod is 37 years old and a fourth generation Methodist minister. He and his wife of 16 years, Elizabeth "Beth" Ann Elrod have two children, 13 year old John Edward, and 11 year old Reagan Elizabeth. From June 2000 to June 2004, Rev. Elrod served three United Methodist churches in Southeast Arkansas; Wallers Chapel, Fountain Hill, and Zion. During that time he attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello and completed B.A. degrees in Political Science and History. He then moved to Cherry Valley where he served First UMC and Vanndale UMC and attended Memphis Theological Seminary. Since then he has served churches in Springdale, Murfreesboro, and Newport. Rev. Elrod is a fourth generation descendant of Rev. Brantly York who taught and preached for over 50 years and in 1858 had founded Brown's Schoolhouse / Union Institute Academy which in 1858 became Trinity College, and in 1924 became Duke University. Another ancestor, Harvey H. Watson, must have been involved in the Salem Camp Meeting a century ago. He had been presiding elder of the Camden and Little Rock districts and died in 1920 while serving the Benton Circuit.

2015 Camp meeting will feature the story of Peter, "Walking with Peter." Everybody likes a story. Our lives are a series of stories, and we all have stories to tell. Bible stories and our own stories are opportunities to discover God and his gracious work in our lives and the lives of others. While exploring the stories of Peter, we may be surprised to discover how much we have in common.

Have you seen our current web page?
  1. Sunday: "The Story Begins" John 1:35-42
  2. Monday: "A New Kind of Fisherman" Luke 5:1-11
  3. Tuesday: " When Faith Takes Risks" Matthew 14:22-23
  4. Wednesday: "The Man With The Mouth" Matthew 16:16
  5. Thursday: "Fumbles in the Garden" Matthew 26:36-46
  6. Friday: "And Peter!" Mark 16:1-8
  7. Saturday: "Still in Grace" John 21:15-25

From 7 to 7:30 PM special music is provided each night by a different group representing a wide range of musical styles and different churches and denominations. Some of the groups will have CDs and/or tapes for sale, and we hope that you will express your appreciation to them by buying one or more CDs. The regular camp meeting service begins at 7:30 PM.

Please show your appreciation to our special music groups by purchasing CDs and tapes, and be sure to shake their hands and tell them you appreciate their ministry. Camp meeting pays its own way -- it is not funded by the church. For the past few years the Camp Meeting has had to dip into its dwindling reserve fund to meet expenses. This year we hope to have enough income from offerings to meet our fixed expenses and have some left over to pay something to the special music groups who travel from outside Saline County.

A brief story that illustrates how dedicated and unselfish our special music groups can be: The group that ministered in music on Monday at camp meeting 2011 showed up in spite of serious difficulty. The lead singer and bus driver became ill and went to the hospital on Monday, but the rest of the group came anyway and blessed us with some good old-fashioned gospel music. The group was unable to bring any CDs to sell, but were willing to travel in a van from Hot Springs and share their ministry with us at their own expense with no expectation of monetary compensation. Music is their ministry, and they are willing to minister with little or no monetary reward.

This story is typical of all our special singers who are willing to pay their own way to bless us with their music. Recognizing that we cannot keep drawing from our reserves to pay our expenses each year, we have decided that camp meeting singers who travel from outside Saline County and will accept payment, will be paid only if income exceeds camp meeting expenses.

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.

Salem Camp Meeting Board 2015

President Anne Beyers
Vice President, Music Laura Cross
Vice President, Maintenance Pete Karczmarczyk
Vice President, Evangelism Rev. Carlton Cross
Secretary Suzanne Thomas
Treasurer Kathy DeWeerd
Head Usher Bill Shirron
Youth Directors Rachel & Russell Powell
Nursery Valerie West
Sound Producer Mike Green
Ex Officio Rev. Richard Lancaster, DS

Members At Large

Penny Green Donna & Bobby Humphries
Janice Spence-Chism Gary Terry
Frances & John Pelton Jim Kane, Sr.
Rev. Denman Gillett Kay Powell
Polly Burton Charles Young
 Ezra Wingfield Randolph Kerr
 Amanda Sturgell Carol Wilson
 Leslie Younts Don Baer
Betty Gatlin Susan Prince

Special gratitude is due to these members and many more individuals who work countless numbers of hours in preparation for Camp Meeting.

Have you seen our current web page?
You can read a summary of the origins and history of the Salem Camp Meeting here.

Remembering some previous Salem Camp Meetings: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

Webmaster: chdyoung@gmail.com