Richard C. Looney, a bishop in the United Methodist Church and a former pastor of Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City and Telford United Methodist Church, will be the speaker for the services.
Looney is a native of Hillsville, Virginia, having graduated from Emory and Henry College and Candler School of Theology. He has also studied at the University of Edinburg, Scotland, and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.
Looney served as resident bishop in the South Georgia area from 1988 until his retirement in 2000. Some of his general church responsibilities included the General Council on Finance and Administration, General Board of Church and Society and Council on Ministry. He currently serves as Episcopal director of the Foundation on Evangelism, Lake Junaluska,, North Carolina.
The Sunday through Wednesday evening gatherings will occur at the historic campshed in front of Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church, 1432 Gray Sulphur Springs Road, Jonesborough, about six miles south from Exit 13 of Interstate 26.
Sunday at 3 p.m., a youth gathering will be held in the campshed led by the Rev. Rosemary Brown, a native of East Tennessee who is serving two churches in Nashville. At 4 p.m., the camp meeting will begin with a Rise Against Hunger Food Packing Event. Volunteers will gather from 4-6 to assemble 10,000 meals to be sent to help feed the hungry. Anyone wishing to volunteer may do so by calling Michael Vaughn at 423-833-2909 or at https://events.stophungernow.org/SulphurSpringsCamp.
Each evening, congregational and special groups, including St. Paul UMC Elizabethton choir, ETSU Swashbucklers, Grace Station Praise Band from Gray UMC and special music from Munsey Memorial UMC, will be featured. Music will begin at 6:30, with the worship service immediately afterward.
A nursery will be available for infants through age 3 each evening in the Family Life Center. A special children’s program will be held on Sunday evening at 6:30 for children ages 5-9 consisting of Bible stories and Bible verses, singing, games and much more. A light meal will be served to the children.
All events are free and open to all who wish to attend, although opportunities to make offerings will be provided. More information can be found at www.campshed.com.
Both the campshed and the worship held on the site have played critical roles in the development of Methodism in Southern Appalachia. As early as 1802, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury wrote in his journal that he had attended a camp meeting in the area, with more than 1,500 people present. Most likely, Asbury attended a meeting held in a brush arbor.
The gathering was formally organized in 1820, with the shed being built in 1842.
The shed was rebuilt in 1900, but the original hand-hewn logs were incorporated into the new structure and still can be seen today.