Friday, October 05, 2012

This Week in Texas Methodist History October 7

Lay Retreat Draws 1266 Men to Lakeview, October 10-13, 1957

The Texas Annual Conference lagged behind the other annual conferences in Texas in establishing encampments.  The West Texas Conference opened Mount Wesley in Kerrville in 1924.  The Northwest Texas Conference bought 315 acres in Palo Duro Canyon two years later.  The Central Texas Conference bought property at Glen Rose in 1939.  It was only after World War II that the Texas Conference established Lakeview in Anderson County

Even though it may have been late getting started, Lakeview was soon filled with retreats, youth camps,Wesley Foundation events,  Bible studies, and many other assemblies.  Both men’s and women’s groups used Lakeview for their conference-wide gatherings. 

The Lay Retreat (really men’s retreat) of October 10-13, 1957 was a good example of the way the men combined inspirational messages, fellowship, and training for work in the local church. 
Pat Thompson of Bay City who  had been conference lay leader since 1944,  reported that registration for the event reached 1266. 

They were treated to devotional messages from Bishop W. C. Martin, of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Honorable Tom Reavley, a distinguished member of the Texas bar who had already served as Texas Secretary of State and was later to become a District Judge, State Supreme Court Justice, and member of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Workshop topics related to the committee structure of the local church.  Thompson’s own pastor from Bay City, the Rev. Garnet House teamed with Ed Curry of the Texas Methodist Stewardship Movement to talk about the committees of finance and stewardship.  Roy Farrow of the Texas Methodist College Association provided training for members of the Official Board.  Other workshops dealt with local church committees on education, evangelism, and so on.  

An unnamed benefit of such meetings was promoting friendships across the vast distance of the Texas Conference which stretched from Texarkana to Bay City and from the Sabine River westward to Falls and Milam Counties.  Although the program does not say so, we can state with some confidence that domino games went long into the night; long lines stretched out of a cafeteria inadequate for such a crowd; and that some of men probably woke up early to try their luck at fishing. 

From an undeveloped patch of East Texas forest to an encampment of more than 1200 men  in less than ten years—that’s the Lakeview story.  


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