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"That Ole Timey Religion"

Information courtesy of the Daily Press, Sept. 4, 1977

Summertime meetings thrived here about 120 years ago.  In their heyday, revivals attracted as many as 2,000 to 3,000 people to the Wakefield Meeting Ground. 

Once a year folks came to live in cottages and “go to meetings” for the duration of the revival – usually a 10-day affair starting on Friday and lasting until the next weekend.

​They came in buggies, by train, in carts and later in cars if their means afforded it.  Folks lived in cottages that they built for themselves or others that were available.

The meetings were started by the Rev. John T. Moore (1845-1903) of the Wakefield Methodist Church, who is buried on the grounds.  After holding the first meeting behind his church in town, Rev. Moore was instrumental in having the camp built around 1896.

The first tabernacle had a wooden roof, open sides and sawdust floors.  Horse and buggies pulled up to the side and filled with people listening and singing.

The first revivals were apparently interdominational ones that spoke of sanctification or reaching a state of perfection in this life. 

With no particular demonination attached to the camp, defining its religion is difficult.  However, early posters advertise:

  • Pentecostal camp meeting at Wakefield – Aug. 4-13, 1903

  • Good water and shade, comfortable cottages, reduced rates on the N & W RR, meals served on the grounds.

  • Wakefield camp grounds is a good and wholesome place to spend your summer vacation.

  • A large and commodious new tabernacle, 80 by 80 feet, concrete floor and metal roof has been built.

  • Good preaching, good music, good water and shade abundance.

  • In 1934 the poster read Southside Virginia Holiness Association – all ministers and churches are cordially invited to attend and assist in the special efforts to win souls and edify the churches.

  • Hundreds and hundreds have been blessed at these altars.

Today Wakefield Christian Camp is a Christian Retreat Center administered by a non denominational Board offering rentals to Christian groups.

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