What started as a vision of two men more than four decades ago will see an estimated 4,000 people converge on Hillsboro next week for the 43rd annual Family Camp held at Restoration Acres.
The camp runs July 20-24 and and is free to the public, unless someone wants to camp overnight. The camp features near constant preaching all four days, plus children classes in the morning and evening and recreation in the afternoon.
The genesis of Family Camp came many years ago when local realtor and former preacher Marvin Wilson and a man named Larry “Bus” Williams attended a large Christian men’s gathering in Oklahoma.
“When they got back they said, ‘Why can’t we do something like that for the whole family in stead of just men?’” said Kerry Allen, a local minister who directs Person to Person Ministries, the umbrella under which Family Camp operates.
In 1972, Person to Person Ministries began hosting its Family Camp Meeting at Wilson’s farm outside of Hillsboro. About 15 families camped out and about 200 people were in attendance. Four years later, 73 acres were purchased just west of Hillsboro and named Restoration Acres. Today, the location has 153 acres of campgrounds with 400 to 500 camper units and around 4,000 people converging each year for the annual camp meeting.
The site that can be accesses via SR 124 or Fenner Road has a year-around ministry building and a new exhibit hall/restroom. The campgrounds have added RV camping sites, new children’s pavilions and additional water and electric hookups.
Kerry said people are coming from about 30 states this year, including California, New York and Florida.
“I think it’s because of the programs we have,” Allen said. “This is a preaching event and we have top-notch preachers that people are familiar with in the Church of Christ.”
The week starts Sunday with a 9:30 a.m. Sunday school, 10:30 a.m. sermon by Allen, and a rally at 7 p.m. featuring a concert by Kirk Hacker.
Monday through Thursday, morning sessions start at 9 a.m., afternoon sessions at 2:15 p.m. and evening sessions at 7:20 p.m. There is a break between each session.
“It’s a very live ministry that we have,” Allen said. “This is an event for the whole family and we would encourage anyone in the area to come out. It’s free. We do take donations at the end of each night, but there is no cost to attend. Anyone is welcome to just come and attend.”