Saturday, May 18, 2019

This Week in Texas Methodist History May 19

Sam Butman Donates Land to Northwest Texas Conference for Youth Camp, May 1953

Few Methodists in the densely populated states of the Eastern seaboard can really grasp the how large the Northwest Texas Conference is.  It was even larger before 1910 when the General Conference broke off its southeastern portion to form the Central Texas Conference.     One of the difficulties of distance was addressed at the annual conference session of 1953 when the conference accepted Sam Butman’s generous donation of 232 acres of ranch land called Mulberry Canyon near Merkel for a youth camp.   

The Northwest Texas Conference already had an encampment, Ceta Canyon, near Happy.  The two encampments were about 250 miles apart.   Butman had signed the deed on May 14 so the Conference action was a formality.   Just a few years earlier, in 1950, Butman had made another generous donation so that Pioneer Memorial Methodist Church could be built in Merkel. 

We are fortunate that Darris Egger, Sr., a former member of the TUMHS, wrote a history of the encampment.  This selection from Egger’s book is used on the Butman website.

After a number of years of hope, dreaming, planning and praying, a camp in beautiful Mulberry Canyon, to be used by thousands of young and old alike, then awaited construction ...Let's put the picture into perspective. The Conference then had 231 plus acres of rocky, hilly, mesquite and cedar covered land. What lay ahead? What would rise from these seemingly rugged acres? To answer this question all we have to do is to visit Butman Methodist Camp and see all the facilities that house and feed hundreds and hundreds of people each year. We can walk the trails that children, youth and adults walk, see the shelters for small group sharings, listen to the singing , the sharing of experiences of the various camps, and to hear testimonies of changed lives by experiences led by Christian leaders." "We thank God for the vision of Sam Butman Sr., for the dedication and commitment of laity and clergy across a wide area , for their generosity in bringing to pass dreams that have been dreamed and prayers that have been uttered for His guidance and blessings.

Butman died 3 years later at the age of 92.


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