Getting away, getting together

Epworth Heights Summer Assembly, 1908

One of the great summer traditions of Methodists has been getting away and getting together.

From the early 1800’s, Methodist Camp Meetings have gathered the faithful for preaching, the sacraments, fellowship and food. I grew up going to Cherry Run Camp Meeting in Western Pennsylvania and here in Michigan Methodists gathered at Eaton Rapids, Simpson Park, Bay Shore and several other camp meetings. They were marked with powerful preaching (sometimes three preaching services a day), great singing of all the old Gospel songs and altar calls for conversion. Many of them are still functioning today, now appealing to the RV and camping culture as well as family activities.

The second model was the Methodist summer community, some of which were part of the Chautauqua movement. Lakeside on Lake Erie in Ohio and Bay View in Petoskey, MI still draw families to their summer cottages as a time to get away from the routine of careers and get together with summer friends stretching back over generations.

In June, I had the privilege of preaching at Bay View and this month I will be speaking at Epworth Heights near Ludington.

Bay View, Petoskey, MI

The Gospel records that even Jesus needed time to get away and time to get together; time to renew his relationship with God and time to build his relationship with his disciples. If it was true for Jesus, it’s certainly true for us. I hope wherever you are this summer you have been able find time to get away and get together, with God and with others.

While you are at it, take time to read my book Thirty Days with E. Stanley Jones or listen to my recent podcast with James Howell. Jones called his time of getting away with God his “listening post” and his ashrams were times of getting together with others. And we all need both.

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