‘Like a second home’

Camp Epworth aims to bring children closer to God

July 25, 2004

Index-Journal staff writer

Pelion resident Brittany Harsey, 15, standing in the girls dormitory, shares her personal testimony of overcoming hardships in her life during devotion time.

EPWORTH — From the roadside, the Epworth Camp Meeting greets passersby with a rustic feel — a hidden gem concealed among the trees and scattered throughout the property.
It’s close to nature, close to God, and one look reveals its mission. “If we can win one young person to God, then the sweat was worth it,” camp President Buddy Rushton said.
Almost 100 years ago, the first camp meeting took place under a tent in New Market. Today, campers worship beneath The Tabernacle, an outdoor sanctuary. This summer’s camp meeting, the 97th, started July 15 and wraps up today.
In 1907, two years after that first tent meeting, the Rev. W.P.B. Kinard donated land a few miles from Ninety Six and erected The Tabernacle.
Along the outskirts of the property lie single dwelling cabins where trustees and workers stay. A canteen and dining hall are positioned on opposite ends of the camp, while a cinder block building houses visitors.
Kinard served as the camp’s first president until his death in 1935. After Kinard’s son Cal served as director, the Rev. C.O. Dorn was chosen as president and director of the camp where he served until the early 1960s.
The Rev. B.C. Gleaton, a South Carolina pastor, succeeded Dorn and served until 1966. During Gleaton’s tenure, the boys dormitory, the Quonset hut, and a central bathhouse were built.
The Rev. Enoch S. Finklea Jr. served as president from 1966-1974. He had previously served as youth director of the camp for a number of years.
During his tenure, the motel dormitory, where visitors now stay, and the new dining hall were erected.
Each time campers, counselors and others walk into the Enoch S. Finklea Jr. Dining Hall and get in line to receive their meal, Phyllis Sanders and Willie Mae Carter are there to greet them.
Sanders, a Greenwood resident, has been at the camp cooking meals for about 20 years and is now the camp’s dietitian.
“I just care about this camp,” she said of the reason she goes back each year. “It inspires me to help other children.”
Carter now lives in Ninety Six, but grew up down the road from the camp.
“I used to live in walking distance from the camp,” she said.
Carter said she was inspired by Cal Kinard to start helping prepare the camp’s meals.
She has continued to return to the camp for 45 years.
When she first started cooking, Carter said she had to prepare meals on a wooden stove. She now feels blessed to be able to cook with gas.
“It’s really fun and the food is good,” said first time camper Aly Russ. The 8-year-old Cayce resident said she heard about the camp through a neighbor.
Candice Merritt, 13, of Anderson is also at the camp for the first time. “My friend Heather said it was fun and she had fun here,” she said.
Merritt said she’s learned a lot about God and keeps busy with activities like bowling and swimming.
Merritt’s friend Heather Chapman, 13, also of Anderson, has attended the camp once before and decided to return.
Chapman said she spends her time meeting new people.
Hilary Woodle, 12, of Lexington, has attended the camp meeting since she was little.
“This is like a second home — it’s a nice place,” she said.
Two years ago, Woodle got saved and gave her heart to the Lord in the camp’s Tabernacle.
She said the people are nice and she doesn’t have to worry about being picked on for being a Christian.
“I like to worship the Lord,” Woodle said.
Lexington resident Mark Kelly, 18, remembers his first visit to the camp about four years ago.
Kelly said he sat on a log near the canteen and relished in his surroundings.
“It was peaceful. And going to the Tabernacle, you could feel it. You feel so close to God,” he said.
Kelly said his friends have noticed a positive change in him when he returns home each year after camp.
Ray Hembree, 19, of Greenwood heard about the camp from his former pastor and soon became attached.
“I told them to sign me up for this year. The purpose is to bring children closer to God,” he said.
Eustis Blackwell, of Florida, remembers when Finklea used to bring in children by the busload.
The number of children that attend each year is smaller, but Blackwell is confident the camp will see large numbers of children again.
“We are trying to get the camp revived,” he said. “If you reach the children, you can reach the parents.”
Blackwell sits on the board of trustees and has been attending the camp with his wife since 1959. “We’re here to deepen the lives of the people that come,” he said.
Blackwell said many of the children that have attended the camp have become missionaries or ministers.
Shelley Cochran and Hannah Yasuda, both 19, had been to several camps as counselors in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and other places and ended their summer travel at Epworth.
They attend Wesley College in Florence, Miss. where they are part of a summer travel program that arranges for a group of college students to work as counselors in various Christian camps around the United States.
“At every camp there is something different. It’s not always easy, but (it’s) worth it,” Cochran said.
Yasuda recognized that it was harder to get the girls to go up at first.
Both Cochran and Yasuda said they thought the girls Wednesday night devotion time was profound.
“Last night was very awesome. It showed that God is working and he’ll come when it’s least expected,” Cochran said.
“God teaches us that he is always there. This has been a good camp to end it with. Summer traveling has been a privilege,” Yasuda said.
Thomas Phillips, 19, of Lugoff has been attending camp meetings his whole life.
Phillips, in his second year as a counselor, said he returns simply because he likes the camp.
“It’s a good place to learn about God with no distraction. It’s peaceful and quiet,” he said.
Phillips said the reason people return is they are close to everyone.
“The new people get treated like family.”


Grace Chapman Boiter

PRAIRIEVILLE, LA. — Grace Chapman Boiter, 80, formerly of Duncan, SC, died on Thursday, July 22, 2004 at the Gonzales Health Care Center in Gonzales, LA.
Born on September 16, 1923 in Duncan, SC, she was a resident of Prairieville, LA for the past 6 years, and the daughter of the late Landrum and Lavada Bragg Chapman.
She was a member of the Church of Christ in Duncan, SC.
She is survived by: two daughters: Mary Boiter Morris and her husband Robert of Baton Rouge, LA and Patricia Boiter Henderson and her husband Allen of Waterloo, SC; a son: William Marvin Boiter and his wife Gloria of Orange, TX; a brother: Buy Chapman of Greer, SC; two sisters: Mildred C. Gibson of Lyman, SC and Delores C. Glynn of Duncan, SC; two half brothers: Kenneth and Ernest Fowler of Duncan, SC; two half sisters: Barbara Fowler Burrell of Duncan, SC and Frankie Fowler Pustover of Charlotte, NC; eight grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by: her husband of 50 years, Toy N. Boiter.
Visitation will be held at Memorial Mausoleum in Woodlawn Memorial Park on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.
Services will begin at 12:00 noon in Memorial Mausoleum and conducted by Rev. Dane Wagoner of Duncan Church of Christ, entombment will follow.
www.mem.com Woodlawn Funeral Home, Greenville

John Henry Griffin

John Henry Griffin, 76, of 213 Tompkins St., husband of Pearl Fuller Griffin, died Tuesday, July 21, 2004 at Self Regional Medical Center.
Born in Greenwood County, he was a son of the late Mary and J.C. Griffin. He was of the Baptist faith.
Survivors include his wife of the home; four sons, John H. Freeman of Greenwood, Marion, Larry and Douglas Griffin, all of Philadelphia; four daughters, Bonnie and Sharon Griffin of Philadelphia, Johnnie Mac and Mary Lee Fuller of Greenwood; two sisters, Ruby and Helen Griffin of Greenwood; 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Services are 2 p.m. Monday at Parks Funeral Home, conducted by the Rev. James Moss. Burial is in Evening Star Memorial Gardens.
Pallbearers are Dexter Freeman, David Belcher, Jammie Bowman, Robert Palmore Sr., Sammie Baylor and Albert Agnew.
Flower bearers are friends of the family.
The family is at the home.
Parks Funeral Home is in charge.

Louis B. Howard

ABBEVILLE — Louis B. Howard, 81, husband of the late Sudie Madden Howard, died Saturday, July 24, 2004 at the Anderson Area Medical Center. Mr. Howard was born in Abbeville to the late John S. and Martha F. Smith Howard. Mr. Howard served in WWII in the United States Navy. He was a Barber in Columbia for 20 years, and then a maintenance supervisor in S.C. State House for many years before retirement.
Surviving Mr. Howard is his brother, Raiford Howard of Abbeville, three sisters, Vera Wilson of Abbeville, Orene Young of Anderson, and Kittie Mae Hawkins of Abbeville.
The family will receive friends 9:00AM to 10:00 AM Monday, July 26, 2004 at Harris Funeral Home. Funeral Services will follow on Monday at 10:00AM in the funeral home chapel, conducted by the Rev. Marion Argo. Interment will be in Melrose Cemetery.
Online condolences may be sent to the Howard family by visiting www.harrisfuneral.com
HARRIS FUNERAL HOME, of Abbeville is assisting the Howard family.

Benny Lee Johnson

HODGES — Services for Benny Lee Johnson are 2 p.m. Tuesday at Pine Grove A.M.E. Church, conducted by the Rev. James J. Robinson, assisted by the Revs. Jerry Aiken, Tommy L. Stanford, John Aiken, Albert Thompson and Stephen Lomax. The body will be placed in the church at 1.
Burial is in Mount Zion A.M.E. Church Cemetery, Abbeville County.
Pallbearers are nieces.
Flower bearers are nephews.
Honorary escort is Phillip Calhoun.
The family is at the home, 2829 Highway 25, Hodges.
Percival-Tompkins Funeral Home is in charge.

Felix Woodall

NINETY SIX — Felix Callaway “Cal” Woodall, Jr., 61, of 120 Pheasant Road, Ninety Six, husband of Rachel Price Woodall, died Saturday, July 24, 2004 at Self Regional Medical Center.
Born in Greenwood, he was the son of the late Felix Callaway Woodall, Sr. and Essie Horne Woodall. He was retired from Greenwood Mills, Adams Plant and a backhoe operator for Carter’s Trucking. He was a member of Friendship Pentecostal Holiness Church and Sandridge Baptist Church.
Surviving is his wife of the home; three sons, William H. Woodall of Saluda; Kenneth W. Price of Ninety Six; Thomas J. Price of Greenwood; two daughters, Laura Ann Andrews of Greenwood and Tina Carroll Walker of Saluda; a sister, Betty Jean Powell of Greenwood; fourteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mr. Woodall was predeceased by a daughter, Jacqueline Ann Price.
Services will be 5 p.m. Monday at Friendship Baptist Church with the Reverend Marty Dorn and Reverend Paul Cooper officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
The family will receive friends at Harley Funeral Home on Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Pallbearers are Chris Addy, Arnold Turner, Roy Swink, A.D. Werts, Elon Maffett and Eddie Goldman. Honorary escorts are Ray Bishop, Thomas Dotson, Terry Dotson, Wayne Price, Willie Lanier, Ben Rushton, Bud McFarland, Warren Reynolds and Anthony Richardson.
The family is at the home of a son, Kenneth Price, 116 Pheasant Road, Ninety Six.
Harley Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences can be made by visiting www.harleyfuneralhome.com


Duncan coaching Yellow Jackets

Dixie High grad assisting with Georgia Tech softball team

July 25, 2004

Assistant sports editor

Softball has been in the blood of former Dixie High School graduate Brandon Duncan for more than 20 years.
Duncan graduated this spring from the University of Alabama with a major in history, but he might not need to use that degree as he accepted an assistant coaching position at Georgia Tech.
“I was amazed by the fact that I was breaking in at a Division I school so quickly,” Duncan said. “Normally, after graduating at a Division I school, coaches go to either a lower Division I institution or even Division II, but I was amazed with the fact it happened so quick.”
Duncan has gotten an advantage over many coaches because he has always been around the sport. His mother coached for a while; his father, Larry, is an assistant at Lander University; and his sister played for the Lady Bearcats.
“Everything is derived from my dad,” Duncan said. “He has so much insight and I learned the game at an early age, so everything I ask about the game goes through him.”
For the past five years, Duncan has spent time with the Alabama softball team.
The Tide rolled to a 45-20 record and was third in the SEC West. In the SEC Tournament, Alabama lost 2-1 to top-seeded LSU, which went on to win the tourney.
“The last two years, the SEC has been the best conference for softball,” Duncan said. “More people think teams from the Pac-10 dominate the sport, but in the past two years, it has been teams like Alabama, LSU and Georgia.”
LSU finished the season with a 57-12 record and was third in the final poll. Alabama was 12th and Georgia 13th.
Alabama fell in the championship game of the NCAA Region 2 tournament to eventual national champion UCLA; only a day after the Tide took the Bruins 10 innings before succumbing to a 5-2 loss.
“The SEC schedule is the hardest,” Duncan said. “I think when you play the SEC schools, it makes you prepare for the Pac-10 schools. I will be taking that mentality to Georgia Tech, where we can compete on a daily basis with the Florida State’s, Maryland’s and Virginia’s.”
Duncan is not only leaving a strong program at Alabama, but he is moving to a program that won 47 games this past season, which was the second-highest tally in school history.
Georgia Tech reached the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year and finished No. 22 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 23 in the ESPN.com poll.
The Yellow Jackets were 47-19, while finishing .500 (5-5) in the ACC. Georgia Tech gained its highest seed ever in a regional, No. 3, and finished third at the Athens Regional.
Georgia Tech defeated UMass, 1-0, and upset No. 10 Georgia, 3-2, before dropping two straight game, including a 2-0 loss to eventual regional champion, No. 8 Washington.
At the ACC Tournament, the Yellow Jackets had a strong showing, making their second championship game appearance in the last three years.
After falling to No. 4 Florida State in the quarterfinals, 3-2, Georgia Tech won three straight games in the elimination bracket, downing No. 3 Virginia (4-1), No. 6 Maryland (6-4) and No. 2 North Carolina (4-0, to make it to the championship game.
The Yellow Jackets fell to Florida State, 3-1, to finish runner-up in the conference.
“Florida State is there every year,” Duncan said. “Maryland has the capability and N.C. State can compete as they finished above .500 in just their first season. Virginia is another team that seems to be up there every year.”


Views of black Americans are not always the same

July 25, 2004

No one assumes that white South Carolinians all have the same political beliefs. We know some are Democrat, some are Republican, some are Independent, and others have different viewpoints that run the political gamut. Then, to be sure, there are some who could care less about politics of any kind. So, then, why is it that some people think that all black South Carolinians follow the same political line?
The answer is, of course, they don’t. Neither do black Americans on the national level.
U. S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige made that clear the other day in no uncertain terms.
Secretary Paige was highly critical of NAACP leaders for saying some black groups are fronts for white conservatives.

JUST BECAUSE THOSE leaders are Democrats and liberal doesn’t mean that every black American is automatically a Democrat and liberal. The majority of black Americans may be, of course. However, some indeed are conservative, although that is sure to go against the grain for Julian Bond and some of the other leaders within the NAACP and other African-American organizations. For them, no doubt, black conservatism is not something they want to admit, and surely would like for it to go quietly unnoticed.
Secretary Paige, though, obviously doesn’t buy the party line. He should know, too. He is the first black Secretary of Education in U. S. history. He rose from a segregated Mississippi to the honored position he now holds in the Bush Administration.

WHAT PAIGE HAD TO say should be a clear indication of the true political picture in this country. No matter who we are we cannot and should not presume to be the “keeper of the castle” for anybody, regardless of our race, age, gender, religion, condition or anything else.
“You do not own, and you are not the arbiters of, African-American authenticity.” Paige told the NAACP leaders.
Almost every kind of organization or group possible most of the time wants to speak for others ….. or, at least, make everyone think they speak for others. That’s not unusual, to be sure. Even though most people likely know that one group doesn’t represent all, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of that once in a while. It helps to put who we are and what we are in perspective.
What is unusual, though, is for some high-profile official to be bold enough to speak up in the face of opposition. It would be encouraging if there were more people with the mettle of Rod Paige.