Pictured here are Bert Baker and his wife, Katherine, in front of the How-ell Hill Community Center, where a camp-meeting gathering is planned for July 7-13 at 6 p.m. nightly.
The community is invited to a camp-meeting gathering at Howell Hill Community Center the week of July 7-13 at 6 p.m.
Each evening there will be various local speakers, and several groups will be singing.
“It’s an open forum for singers,” said Bert Baker, one of the organizers and founder of Community Christians, Families and Friends.
This event will be a get-together of friends, families, relatives and neighbors and an opportunity to honor the descendents of the Otis and Bernice Howell family, as well as former students of the Howell Hill School. The meetings will be a jubilee and spiritual revival, as well, filled with laughter, hugs, grinning and lots of good singing, picking, praising, Bible preaching and praying for individuals, the community and nation. This is an inter-denominational event, and everyone is welcome.
Church choirs are encouraged to join the fun and sing. Contact 931-433-7078 or 931-339-7138 for more information.
The Howell Hill Community Center is located at 474 Old Lincoln Road.
Otis and Bernice Howell donated the land to the County Board of Education in 1919, and that very year a school was built on the property. Classes were held in the building until 1953. The building served both as a school and a church for the first year, until the following year when the Howell Church of Christ was completed next door. After that, the building was used not only for the school but for larger church gatherings for many years.
One of the first preachers there was a Civil War veteran, the Rev. Little, who officiated the marriage of Otis and Bernice Howell. During the war, Little was part of an escort for Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Camp meetings have a long history and gained wide recognition in the 19th century. Following the Civil War, in some areas, they brought thousands of people from surrounding communities into the camps.
“Back then, the church was at the center of the community,” said Baker.
Individuals and families would drive to them in wagons or by horse and buggy and stay a week or two depending on the length of the camp. Baker explained that during that time, there were doctrinal battles between the conservative churches and schools and universities, which were more liberal leaning.
Brush Arbor meetings usually preceded camp meetings by a year or so in areas that were just beginning to be settled. Shelters were quickly constructed, usually using sapling trees and brush as protection from the elements.
“The need of the human spirit is still the same … it’s about a time of refreshing, of roots and things,” Baker said.