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Herriman Chapel 15th annual camp meeting, Holiness Church Aug.19, 1942

Gary Murrell, pastor of Herrriman Chapel and a member of the Herriman Chapel Camp Meeting Board, announces the upcoming 2016 Herriman Chapel Camp Meeting. This year’s camp is scheduled for Sunday, July 31 through Sunday, Aug. 7.

Eighty-nine years ago, in the spring of 1927, Bro. Charlie Mitchell, Bro. J.S. Worthington, Bro. R.C. Oldham, and Bro David Englund met at Oak Dale Church with a vision and made plans for Herriman Chapel Camp.

The first camp was August 8-18, 1927. Bro. Ezra Hood preached at the first night service and used Isaiah 42:4 as his text. The work started as an “open” camp where they used the area ministers for evangelists, and various local ministers would preach for the daily services throughout the meeting. Rev. Noel Scott’s grandmother, Sis. Viola Boomershine, is listed as a minister who held a service in the first camp. The archives reflect she ministered in the 1928 Camp, from Colossians 3:11, using as a text, “Christ is all in all.” Area ministers listed as preaching are Bro. Ezra Hood, Brother Ol Neely, Bro. R.C. Oldham, Bro. Chris Vilhauer, Bro. David Englund, Bro. Ora Lancaster, Sister Anna Carriker, Bro. Will Coleman, Bro Joe Worthington, plus others.

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James Bourland at the age of two years old. His daughter is Dr. Cammie Housh. His mother, Vera Bourland still lives in El Dorado Springs.

In the beginning, the meetings were held under a canvas tabernacle. In the early years many people camped on the grounds for the 10-day period. There were sometimes as many as 40 tents in which the people slept. During some camp meetings, the women and children slept in the church and another large tent sheltered the men. For the 1942 camp, a wooden tabernacle was constructed, and straw was put down for a floor. A concrete floor was poured in 1968. There was a need for more seating space under the tabernacle and in 1976 the tabernacle was expanded to the north. The Bland family, in memory of Maurice Bland, donated funds in 2013 to create the “Mouse House,” a building dedicated to house the children’s ministry. Improvements of the campus are ongoing and the generous giving of supporters is greatly appreciated.

Meals have always been served on the free will offering plan. Much of the food has been donated and brought in by the people. Often a calf was butchered and chickens donated for meat. Some people living nearby brought milk, eggs and garden vegetables. One year Bro. Rash Baker brought his cow to camp so they could have milk and cream for breakfast. Sacks of potatoes, apples, sweet corn, peaches, watermelons. etc. would be prepared by the people between services. Some of the first meals were cooked in the open with eating tables placed under a tent. Girls would use tree branches to keep flies away from the food. Some families, in times past, chose to bring their own food and eat picnic style in the woods. As many as 300 people have been served in a single meal.

Each day of the camp is begun with a prayer service. The woodlands surrounding the grounds were used as a place for prayer. Between services, the women and girls would go in groups to the south woods; the men and boys would go to the north woods across the roadway. The praying was not all done in secret, but could be heard much of the day and all through the night. Sometimes workers would form a ring, standing outside on the campground. Each would then take turns testifying and praising God. The long altar bench was often crowded with seekers, and many people often stayed praying, singing and shouting until late at night. Healing services were held, and many have testified of God’s healing power.

Bonnie (Greathouse) Query and her siblings recall Herriman Chapel Camp of 1957 quite vividly. She, along with her siblings, were seated with their mother in the west side of the tabernacle and it was time for lunch. Their mother, Maggie Lee Greathouse, was holding their new baby sister Brenda. Just a few weeks old, baby Brenda had been having trouble with choking epidodes. Again, on this particular day, baby Brenda had choked, quit breathing and her little body turned black. Maggie Lee, seeing that her baby had died, felt there was not anything else she could do and was urging her other children to go to the car as she would need to contact the Goodrich Funeral Home. However, there were powerful believers in the crowd. Leola (Messick) Bland, seeing the situation and realizing the urgency, fell on her knees and began praying for a miracle. Rev. Kenny Powell, pastor of Herriman Chapel Church, took the baby in his arms and called on everyone to circle around mother and baby for prayer. After several minutes of prayer, baby Brenda gasp for breath and life returned to her body.

Down through the years many life changing experiences have happened on this campus. Many young men and women have spent time at the altar seeking God and His direction for their lives. Today, these people are leaders in our local churches and in our community. On the last night of Camp, 1993, Brent Bland shared his call to be a minister. Since that time, he has faithfully shared the Word of God, visiting the sick, encouraging the disheartened and comforting the grieving.

Without a doubt, we can say that many people down through the years, have made lifetime decisions on this plot of ground because a few men had a vision and kept that vision. Eternity will reveal the fruits of the seed sown and souls won through the vision of those godly men 89 years ago.

Rev. Noel Scott, Chairman of Herriman Chapel Camp Board, invites all to attend and visit Herriman Chapel Camp. Our campus is located on 39 Hwy. a mile South of 54 Hwy. at Cedar Springs. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily. The camp now offers several R.V. hookups and cabins. The evangelist and song evangelist for 2016 Herriman Chapel Camp will be Paul and Nancy Gray. For more information, call 417/644-7521 or 417/667-1741.

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