HISTORY - 2016 Salem Camp Meeting - 7 PM nightly June 12 - 18

1647 Salem Road, Benton, Arkansas 72019

The 2016 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.

Salem Campgrounds arbor

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. Dr. Chester Jones. On Wednesday, youth night, Rev. Greg Schick will provide the special music and sermon.

The first night, 6/12
Activities begin at 6 PM

The schedule for each evening is:

  • 7 PM to 7:30 PM
    Special music and

  • 7:30 PM - 8 PM
    Singing old hymns
    led by Lynn Hoggard,
    with pianist
    Kathleen Dockery

  • 8 PM Sermon
    Rev. Chester Jones

    Wednesday only
    Rev. Greg Schick

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

Special Music Schedule:

  • 6/12 Sunday:
    Salem UMC Sanctuary Choir

  • 6/13 Monday:
    Joyful Noise Praise Team

  • 6/14 Tuesday:
    Randy Mason

  • 6/15 Wednesday:
    Greg Schick

  • 6/16 Thursday:
    Open mic

  • 6/17 Friday:
    Oaklawn UMC Praise Choir

  • 6/18 Saturday:
    Cloe Humphry

The Salem campground is just north of Benton, Arkansas and a few miles southwest of Little Rock Arkansas. We no longer camp out for a week or two in tents or cabins, and we only have one service in the evening instead of three or four meetings throughout the day, but we still enjoy worshipping God and celebrating the tradition and memories of camp meeting.

Special Music

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.

Sunday 6/12 Salem UMC Sanctuary Choir

Led by Curt Hamlett, the choir sings old and new hymns - some with a modern and peppy arrangement.

Monday 6/13 Joyful Noise Praise Team

Laura Cross leads this small team of joyful singers as they share worship and praise songs. Laura plays keyboard, her husband Randy plays bass, and Steve Davis plays guitar.

Tuesday 6/14 Randy Mason

We welcome Randy back to the camp meeting. He has been singing gospel music for several years.

Wednesday 6/15 Greg Schick

Last year the youth enjoyed coming to the front and participating in Greg's fun and sometimes funny routines and music. This will be his third year to share his musical ministry with us. Greg is Pastor of Contemporary Service at Saint James UMC in Little Rock.

Thursday 6/16 Open mic - Please tell Laura Cross if you would like to sing a song.

Friday 6/17 Oaklawn UMC Praise Choir

Led by camp meeting pianist Kathleen Dockery, this group from Hot Springs enjoys singing a mix of old time gospel and some more modern songs.

Saturday 6/18 Cloe Humphry

We welcome teen worship leader Cloe to the Salem Camp meeting for the first time. Everyone young and old loves hearing young people sing for Jesus.

Let everyone join in singing the old hymns! At 7:30 PM each night, Lynn Hoggard leads the congregation in singing some old hymns, accompanied by pianist Kathleen Dockery. Anyone who wants is welcome to come join the choir. We especially encourage young people to join the choir. Even if you do not know all the songs, come join us and be surrounded by some exuberant singing.

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 been driving from Hot Springs to play the piano at Salem Camp meeting for several years - recently in her little VW. Anyone who hears and sees her playing that old time gospel style piano can tell that she enjoys what she is doing. Judging by the smiles on the faces of the audience, her enthusiasm and enjoyment must be contagious.

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.

At 8 PM hear sermons about the seven churches of the book of Revelation by guest evangelist Rev. Dr. Chester Jones. "If you haven't met Chester, you are in for a treat as he cleverly and joyfully leads you into a closer relationship with our God," says Anne Beyers, President of the Salem Campground Association. Dr. Jones has served the United Methodist Church in ministry for over 40 years. He is married to Valarie Abbott Jones.

Education: Arkansas public schools; B.A. in religion and philosophy from Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas; Master of Divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia; ADB degree from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey; and Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dr. Jones has served the following churches:

Other service includes:

Dr. Jones wrote
"Dancing With The Bear" a biography of his outspoken sister, Dr. Jocelyn Elders, who is known nationally as the first african american surgeon general. She served for 15 months in President Bill Clinton's administration. Dr. Jones also wrote or edited the following books; "Dancing With Little Teddy", "Here I Stand", and "Each One Wins One". He has also written articles on the plight of black farmers and the death penalty.

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 evangelist 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. We still need and desire to experience God's forgiveness and life-changing power.

Volunteers set up the piano and sound system every evening prior to the service and tear it all down afterwards -- it cannot be left under the open arbor. Special thanks to Mike Green for providing an excellent sound system for camp meeting. Most of the singing groups use Mike's system since it is more than adequate for their needs. Volunteers also work prior to camp meeting making plans and arrangements for the next upcoming meeting, fixing up the arbor, and praying for God's blessings on the camp meeting and everyone who attends.

The camp meetings are organized and run by the Salem Camp Meeting Association which meets this year at 2 PM on Saturday June 18. 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 those who have generously contributed to recent improvements such as the concrete floor, seat cushions, improved lighting, additional ceiling fans, and some nice church pews donated by the Vilonia, UMC.

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: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

Webmaster: chdyoung@gmail.com