The culmination of the day's activities at the Shiloh Camp Ground in Rankin County is the evening service in the open-air tabernacle. This is the way it's been done for 180 years at Shiloh. A lot remains as it has been over the years. Fresh saw dust spread over the tabernacle floor at the beginning of the week as it always has been. Hand fans making the heat a little more bearable until the sun sets and a cooler, well, cooler in comparison, breeze starts after night fall.
When all this started back in 1832, people attending came and lived here by necessity. It was too hard to come and go after every service: prayer meeting in the morning and again in the afternoon and the preaching at night. Besides the farms were on autopilot more or less, just waiting for the cotton to bowl here at the beginning of August and not much else to do. Now with cars, folks can come and go as they please. But many still stay in the cabins, they are called tents although they are made out of wood. But again it isn't like it used to be. Fay and Gay Nobles have been coming to camp meeting all of their lives.
Fay Nobles: We didn't used to have running water. We didn't used to have electricity. We didn't used to have any modern conveniences.
Walt: Twin sister Gay says cars and jobs has made the biggest change. And air conditioning and Internet back home just a few miles away.
Gay Nobles: Back then people stayed all the time and it was more fellowship all day long and now it's mostly at night.
Walt: It's all a throwback to another era and another time. A simpler time, well, in hindsight a simpler time, a time we made it through, anyway, or our parents made it through, and handed the best of it down to us. Shiloh Camp Meeting is one of the passed-on items that is still being handed down to the children who come out today and play out doors and not with their computers and hang out at the camp ground store and join in the services at night and will grow up with this period of their childhoods etched in their minds and will make it a priority to pass this time of camp meeting, around which the church and the community has revolved, on to their children. So a hundred and eighty years from now you might pass by here and see something similar to this still going on then, with inevitable changes the times bring, but those changes framing the sameness that the participants won't allow time to change.
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