MONARK SPRINGS — Organizers with the National Church of God Camp Meeting are gearing up for the 75th annual event.
The event is slated to start Friday and run until July 28. The Monark Springs Campgrounds is located east of Neosho approximately 1-1/2 miles East on 86 Hwy from 86 Super Stop, then 3/4 mile South on Monark Drive. The campground is on the left.
"It is for the encouragement and inspiration of God's church," said Ron Cole, a member of a local Church of God. "We have three regular services a day and then there are also children's meetings, youth meetings mixed in with all of that."
Those three service times are at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Meals will also be provided free on the grounds.
The event has attracted several people over the years, with the first weekend seeing upwards of 700 people.
"Because it is a national camp meeting, we have people come from all over the U.S. and it is centrally located in the United States, fairly well," said Cole, on why to have it at Monark Springs. "That is where the tabernacle is built. We have continued on at the same location."
The services are held in a rustic open-air tabernacle that was originally built in 1940. It has been added onto different times since then. Sleeping accommodations consist of a combination of small cabins, a set of motel-style family units, separate dorms for men and women, and RV hookups for guests with campers.
"The camp meeting is open to all people, and we invite people to come from the surrounding community," he said in a press release. "We believe that salvation in the heart makes a person a member of God's worldwide church. We have no headquarters or general governing body, but look to God and the Holy Spirit for direction. We have no set program for most services, but allow the Holy Spirit to guide and give us what we need for that time. We believe in living simple and plain, holy lives to the glory of God."
And there will be singing during the event.
"The singing in the services is all acapella style — meaning voices without instrumental accompaniment," Cole said. "This type of singing allows us to focus more on the words and the meaning of the songs without getting distracted by loud instruments. Most of the singing is done by the whole congregation, with a song leader, but there are other 'special songs' sung by smaller groups. The large congregational singing is very unique and beautiful. Some people in the community, who do not regularly attend our services, come to the camp meeting just to hear the singing."
The following website has links to many recorded messages from the Church of God: www.churchofgodpreaching.com.
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