The original camp ground in Hummels' Wharf was known as God's Holiness Grove. However, everyone called it Sunbury Camp.
When the original encampment was demolished, the operation moved to New Columbia and was known as Willow Lake Wesleyan Camp.
Now, the official name of the camp is the Central Pennsylvania Wesleyan Campground and Conference Center
You may click the link above to visit the official website.
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Pennsylvania Wesleyan Campground and Conference Center
David D. Babb, PhD, President
413 Buck Road, New Columbia, PA 17856-9711
Updated March 23, 2012
This website was originally created by G. Edwin Lint, BS, ThB, MA in memory of Rev. Jordan "Jurd" Edwin Wolfe, the founder of the original campmeeting ground known as Sunbury Camp, located along Routes 11-15 in Hummels Wharf, Pennsylvania. With the purchase of the Willow Lake property in New Columbia, and it's dedication as the Willow Lake Wesleyan Camp, the development of this website comes to an end. Only routine maintenance will be performed here in the future.
view the the memorial to
the old Sunbury Camp,
click this link:
Dedication of the Willow Lake Wesleyan Camp, 4:30 P.M.
August 10, 2003.
As was the case in 2002, a large tent was pitched on the Willow Lake grounds. This year, however, the summer was very wet and recent heavy rains made parts of the grounds [including inside the tent] rather soft.
The tent was well filled, however, for the 4:30 dedication service.
burlap runner down the center aisle helped with the excess moisture. Funeral
parlor fans helped with the heat and gnats. The humidity was described by
Evangelist Coffee as enough to fill a bucket if he wrung out his shirt. However,
everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
Rev. Randy Swink, District Superintendent for the Western Pennsylvania District of the Wesleyan Church, led the new camp board and congregation in a prayer of dedication.
camp song evangelists were Keith and Jodi Seigfried, known as Mended Heart.
Camp Evangelist John A. Coffee delivered a powerful message about the need for us all to have a new anointing with "Fresh Oil".
When the service was over, several men stacked the chairs, hosed off the mud, and packed them away, in preparation for taking down the tent.
May this be the beginning of a long and spiritually fruitful second era for the God's Holiness Grove Camp Meeting Association.
Good-bye, Sunbury Camp!
cottages were placed on sale
September 8, 2001.
last Sunbury Camp service was held August 12, 2001, at 3:00 p.m. The
tabernacle for the final service was well filled and featured projected pictures
of bygone years and a powerful message by Evangelist Roger Parsons. The sermon
was delivered in a cadence and style reminiscent of such men as the late Dr.
R. G. Flexon, of Indianapolis, and Rev. P. O. Carpenter
of Wilmore, KY. Both of these men stand out in my mind as the Billy Grahams of
Sunbury Camp, back when I was a boy.
Click to download a 23 minute audio clip of Dr. Flexon preaching in 1977 at the IHC.
[Download to a known folder; then double-click the Flexon icon to launch Windows Media Player or equal.]
Rev. P. O. Carpenter of Wilmore, Kentucky
For more information on the operation of this recorder, visit http://www.diskbooks.org/wcwirerecorder.pdf
My Dad, Rev. J. Franklin Lint, gave me a Webster-Chicago wire recorder in 1952. I loved to record the services and then listen to them during the Winter. I bought a 25-foot microphone cord, long enough to reach from the pulpit to the orchestra area where I sat, playing my trumpet.
If I do say so myself, those recordings were broadcast-quality and crystal-clear. Since my mike was mounted on the pulpit, right beside the house sound system mike, there was none of the hollow-barrel reverberation you often hear with amateur recordings. This includes both the sermons and the special music by such camp meeting favorites as the Strader Trio and Max Hamilton, his trombone, and his sisters.
I didn't get my hands on a real radio station until 1971 [WPGM AM-FM Stereo, Danville, Pennsylvania.]
By then, all my Sunbury camp recordings were gone.
Unfortunately, I only had 3 hours of wire. Therefore, each year, the previous camp services were erased to make room for the new recordings.
Today, I have two auto reverse cassette recorders and a CD recorder. I'm sad to say, I have no wire recordings to transfer to cassette or CD.
However, I can say that those wire recordings made at Sunbury Camp grew into a radio ministry known as Gospel Caravan, born in 1972 on WPGM AM-FM Stereo, Danville, Pa. It lived on live radio stations, in syndication, and on the Internet, from April 2000 to June, 2009.
Looking back now, I would judge that the Sunbury Campus of God's Holiness Grove was at its zenith during August of 1952. It seemed to slowly diminish during the subsequent summers.
This level property in a grove of mature trees was sold as change and progress march on. The campus included a large wooden tabernacle, a dining hall with some rooms for campers upstairs, and two rest room buildings.
God's Holiness Grove was operated under the auspices of the Wesleyan Church. A merger in 1968 between the Wesleyan Methodist and the Pilgrim Holiness denominations created the Wesleyan Church. Prior to the merger, the camp was operated by the Pilgrim Holiness Church.
Campus on sale day; the tabernacle is seen straight ahead, down the main drive.
The first camp in the new tabernacle, August 1921
Jordan "Jurd" Edwin Wolfe, 1872-1955, Camp Founder,
Publisher of the Holiness Missionary Colporteur, and Church Planter
Jurd Wolfe's old cottage/home [pictured at right, above] was relocated in latter years from the far side of US 11-15 to the main campus and utilized as a prayer chapel. He was on his way from the Saturday night service to this little home when he was killed in August, 1955. This cottage has been moved again to the new Willow Lake Wesleyan Camp at New Columbia, PA
Rev. Wolfe was killed in a pedestrian traffic accident during the 1955 camp while crossing from the camp ground to his cottage on the other side of U.S. 11-15. Jurd Wolfe always wore a black suit to service, so the elderly gentleman may have been hard for a motorist to see in the dark.
His funeral was held in the tabernacle and attended by over 900 campers and fellow ministers.
The purchase of the original property was arranged by Rev. Wolfe in 1923 for $6,000.
Max L. Hile [1914-2006] and Jeri C. Hile [1916-2006] with their four daughters in front of the Hile cottage before the final service: L-R, Jacki Herbst, Marilyn Wert, Marceille Harrison, Nancy Lint
Of course, I could say that Sunbury Camp has a special place in my heart because of the spiritual history of these shaded acres. However, that wouldn't be the whole story. The fact is, I met my future wife, Nancy Lee Hile, the Thursday of the August 1952 camp.
was working as a ticket puncher at the dining hall, when this cute, fourteen-year
old came through the line without a ticket. She said her dad, Max L. Hile, had
her ticket and he was somewhere behind her in the line. By the authority vested
in me as the official ticket puncher, I let her into the dining hall without a
ticket, and I'm still paying for her dinners to this day! [And loving every minute
of it!] Here are Nancy and I as we looked back in the 50s, and
December 26, 2011.
We were married August 4, 1956 at the old Pilgrim Holiness Church in Milton, Pa. Rev. J. Franklin Lint officiated.
We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary July 2, 2006.
Church summer camps of this era were not famous for a lot of organized activities for young people. There was no pool; promiscuous bathing was frowned on by the church leaders of this era. A teenager's day consisted of working in the dining hall for three meals, attending services in the tabernacle three times a day, and [for boys] playing root-the-peg with pocket knives in the mossy shade in front of the dining hall.
Of course, I look back on those days with fond memories and that is one of the reasons I created this unofficial memorial web site.
It was while punching tickets at the head of a line like this that I first met Nancy. [Interior of dining hall to right.]
What made Sunbury Camp unique among Christian camps I have visited over the years were the 100 white cottages, all built to the same specifications.
The camp snack shack was a favorite of the young people.
The camp pump house is seen in the background.
Rev. Wolfe [right] with my Dad, Associate Editor Rev. J. Franklin Lint [1909-1993]. Picture taken c. 1946.
Dad was president of the God's Holiness Grove Camp Meeting Association while pastoring the church in Rebuck, and went on to become District Superintendent of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey District of the Pilgrim Holiness Church, 1948-1953.
He moved to the West Virginia District where he pastored churches in Charleston and Barboursville and was District Treasurer. He built a retirement home on the district camp ground at Culloden, and died in 1993.
Rev. Wolfe made arrangements with Dad for "assisting him in editing the Colporteur and continuing its publication after his passing . . .". The tragic 1955 accident caused this to happen sooner than anyone could have realized. In the mid 80s, it was my pleasure to maintain the database of subscribers on my computer and to print out the address labels when it was time to send out another edition of the Holiness Missionary Colporteur. Dad and Mother had been hand writing the addresses before I started to help.
When Dad died in 1993, I published and mailed a final memorial edition. If you would like a copy of that memorial edition, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope [SASE] to:
DiskBooks Electronic Publishing
1706 Patricia Court,
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
This is the sad state of the old camp as seen from US 11-15 as Nancy and I drove by one rainy day in late May, 2003. The building closest to the road is what's left of the caretaker's house; it looks like a tree fell on it.
other main building still standing is the combination dining hall and dormitory,
seen to the left and behind the caretaker's house.
This is where I allowed Nancy to go into the dining hall without a ticket one August Thursday in 1952.
The other small building visible in the center of this picture appears to be a restroom building.
When we drove by September 13, 2003, all buildings had been completely leveled except the restroom buildings. The rumor is that this will be the site of a new WAL*MART complex.
Here's the camp ground as it appears now. Just another shopping center
Good-bye, Sunbury Camp. Time and circumstances have left nothing but desolation, to make room for commercial expansion. Now, the original Sunbury Camp exists in the minds and hearts of those of us who spent so many happy hours in your tabernacle, your dining hall, your cottages, and under your gorgeous trees.
No one can demolish those fond memories!
G. Edwin Lint, Th.B., M.A.
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