Holbrook Campground in eastern Cherokee County is full of activity once again, as hundreds of people have come together for this year’s camp meeting.
Over the course of a week and a half, people from near and far are spending time together, worshiping, playing games and enjoying the company of others they might not see at other times during the year. This year’s meeting is the 183rd edition of the revival, with the site having hosted such events since 1839.
The campground sits across the street from Macedonia United Methodist Church, near the Forsyth County line. A wooden arbor where worship services are held centers the site. Surrounding the arbor are dozens of small cabins, called “tents” by the families, some of whom have moved out of state but return for 10-day gathering.
“I’ve been coming here about all my life,” Dwight Smithwick said while he sat on the porch of his “tent” with his family Wednesday evening. “It’s kind of a highlight of the year, getting to come here, go to worship services and see people you don’t get to see but once a year.”
Prior to a worship service, several small groups of four to five people could be found in conversation all over the campground. Some came together for a game of horseshoes, while several of the youth members were engaged in a cornhole tournament.
Warren Lathem said he loved everything about coming to Holbrook Campground, getting to renew relationships and be a part of the larger spirit of the campground. Lathem has been coming to the camp meetings virtually his entire life and his grandchildren are the eighth generation of his family to attend, he said with pride.
“It’s been a part of our lives for a long time,” Warren Lathem’s wife Jane added.
This year’s meeting began July 9 and will continue every day through July 18. Those staying in tents and visitors to the campground can take part in worship services at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day. 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 from Rev. Jared Lathem, a pastor with The Gathering Movement church in Marietta and Warren Lathem’s son.
“For me, this place is holy ground. I was saved here when I was 9 years old,” Lathem said. “To come back here and preach is the highest honor.”