Holbrook Campground in eastern Cherokee County is once again full of activity, as hundreds of people gathered for this year’s camp reunion.
For a week and a half, people near and far spend time together, worshiping, playing games, and enjoying the company of other people they might not see at other times of the year. year. This year’s reunion is the 183rd edition of the revival, the site having hosted such events since 1839.
The campground is across from the Macedonian United Methodist Church, near the Forsyth County line. A wooden arbor where religious services take place centers the site. Around the arbor are dozens of small huts, called “tents” by families, some of which have left the state but are returning for a 10-day gathering.
“I’ve been here all my life,” Dwight Smithwick said as he sat on the porch of his “tent” with his family on Wednesday night. “It’s kind of a highlight of the year, coming here, going to church services and seeing people that you only see once a year.”
Before a worship service, several small groups of four to five people could be found chatting all over the campsite. Some gathered for a game of horseshoes, while several of the younger members participated in a cornhole tournament.
Warren Lathem said he loves everything about coming to Holbrook Campground, renewing relationships and being a part of the larger spirit of camping. Lathem has attended camp meetings most of his life and his grandchildren are the eighth generation in his family to attend, he said proudly.
“It’s been a part of our lives for a long time,” added Jane, Warren Lathem’s wife.
This year’s reunion began on July 9 and will run daily until July 18. Those staying in tents and visitors to the campground can attend church services at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. There is also a children’s service at 9.15 a.m. and a prayer meeting at 3 p.m.
Wednesday night’s service included music from the Bordens, a family of singers, and a sermon on the second chapter of Ephesians by Reverend Jared Lathem, a pastor of The Gathering Movement church in Marietta and the son of Warren Lathem.
“For me, this place is holy land. I was saved here when I was 9, ”Lathem said. “Coming back here and preaching is the greatest honor. “