Hundreds of churchgoers and well-wishers enjoyed a Sunday meeting and dinner on the grounds at Pleasant Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church on Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville.
It was a big crowd and they had enjoyed the church’s 2015 Annual Camp, which began with “Old Fashioned Day” on Oct. 25, with ongoing events until Sunday.
The Rev. John E. Morse Jr., pastor, presided over events and greeted everyone. Morse is also a superior-court judge in the Eastern Judicial Curcuit with offices in Chatham County.
The notables attending this year’s Camp Meeting included the Rev. Paul A. Sheppard, the Rev. Dr. C.L. Anderson, the Rev. Dr. Frederick A. McIver, the Rev. Alvin Jackson, the Rev. Velma R. Watts, the Rev. Dr. Sinclair L. Thorne and Pastor Richard D. Hayes.
Sunday’s meeting at the church marked a historical pastime. The original Camp Meeting was a nondenominational gathering sponsored as a Methodist Camp Meeting, and the event has a history stretching back into Liberty County’s early days. From 1919-1920, there were camp meetings at Pleasant Grove in Taylors Creek.
When the U.S. government uprooted folks who lived on land that today is part of Fort Stewart, many of the land owners and residents of Taylors Creek disbanded. In 1942, steps were taken to build the Pleasant Grove AME Church, helping bring together former Taylor Creek residents.
Among the other churches represented at this year’s Camp Meeting were First Zion Baptist Church, Riceboro; St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, Hinesville; Baconton Missionary Baptist Church, Allenhurst; Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, St. Thomas African Methodist Episcopal Church and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, all of Walthourville.
Farewell thanksgiving services ended the day and week-long events.