The Campground Methodist Church grew out of the preaching and work of the early Methodist circuit riders who traveled the old Georgetown Road, living out of their saddle bags and preaching to the people wherever they found them.
The site now occupied by the present church facility was a favorite meeting place in those early days because it was here the two avenues of transportation crossed: the north-south highway and the Shallotte River.
One such meeting occurred here on February 7, 1791, when Bishop Francis Asbury “preached at the Charlotte River to not less than one hundred people”.
The exact date of the origin of the church is not known, but the first building was completed by February 1799 in the vicinity of the present one. This was a small structure without means of heating.
Since the church was located on the banks of the Shallotte River, it was named for the river and was first called the “Shallotte Meeting House”.
Bishop Asbury called it the “Charlotte Meeting House” and lamented that it was “vulgarly and improperly called Shallotte”.
Sometime prior to 1856 the church changed its name to “Campground”; the church grounds had become the scene for the rousing camp meetings of the era.
The property on which our present sanctuary stands belonged to Samuel W. Sleight, a northern explorer who had come South. Sleight, realizing the significance of the Shallotte meeting, gave the property so that it could always be used for religious services. The execution of the deed was made February 25, 1878, for the sum of “one dollar”.
Sometime after the Civil war, the forefathers, sensing a need for the Spirit of Christ in their lives and the presence of God in their homes, built the second building on the old camping grounds. This new building was a large, wooden structure with two entrances that opened into one room, with two aisles and three rows of seats.
In 1896, the third building, a large wooden structure, was completed. The double wooden doors opened into an aisle that led to the front of the sanctuary. The high ceiling was considered a masterpiece of woodworking art.
In 1951, the North Carolina Conference met at Grace Methodist Church in Wilmington and authorized the formation of a station appointment to be known as Shallotte Camp Methodist Church, denoting its origin from the old camp ground.
In 1957, a new brick building was completed consisting of a sanctuary, seven classrooms, a fellowship hall and kitchen. In 1983, extensive renovations and additions were made, including a new fellowship hall and kitchen, nursery and four additional classrooms.
In 1996, the church purchased the adjacent Goodyear Store building, renaming it Asbury Hall and it was renovated into a multipurpose building with commercial kitchen, a hall that could be divided, and restrooms. In 1999-2000 members renovated Wesley House, a donated beach cottage, into additional meeting and classroom space. Our basement classroom area is now used for high school diploma equivalency classes and a multi-church food pantry.
From rough tents of the 1700s to our facilities of the present; people continue to come to this place by the river to worship God. Today Camp UMC has nearly 800 members.
|Laurence J. Bridges||1951-1955||David L. Moe||1977-1980|
|Robert D. Ricks||1955-1956||Woodrow Wells Jr||1980-1984|
|L. Charles Ledford||1956-1957||Wm. Stanley Smith Jr.||1984-1988|
|Edward P. Armstrong||1957-1957||George F. Blanchard||1988-1990|
|Wm. Brantly Starnes||1957-1958||George D. Speake||1990-1999|
|Glen Holmes||1959-1959||Jimmy R. Tatum||1999-2003|
|Henry A. Phillips||1959-1964||Richard C. Vaughan||2003-2016|
|Murry L. DeHart Jr.||1964-1968||Won Namkoong||2016-2020|
|Frank D. Salmon||1968-1971||Steve Murphy||2020-present|
|J. Sidney Epperson||1971-1977|