Falls Creek benches to be benched


It's been a summer tradition for Oklahoma Baptist teenagers, going back almost 90 years, to spend a week in the hottest part of Oklahoma, in the hottest part of the summer, sitting on hard wooden benches and sweltering in an immense open-air tabernacle to sing hymns and choruses and hear the Word of God preached. My parents first met there as teenagers. I went three times to Falls Creek Baptist Assembly as a camper, once as a sponsor. While the cabins where campers ate and slept were renovated and air conditioned over the years, the tabernacle remained open on the sides, with only some big fans to try to make a breeze on a still summer evening. (The fans had to be turned off when the choir was singing, as they would have inhaled some of the more petite vocalists.)

The preaching and singing will continue, but the old tabernacle at Falls Creek Conference Center south of Davis is being replaced with an air conditioned auditorium with theater-style seats. The wooden benches, up to 20 years old, covered in graffiti, and ranging in size from four to twelve feet, are being auctioned off. Unfortunately for old campers, the auction house does not provide a searchable index of doodles, so the odds are slim of you finding the bench where you and your sweetheart de la semaine proclaimed your everlasting love with a penknife.

There's an opportunity for graffiti of a sort in the new auditorium, but it's only the one chance and it'll run you $500. For that price, you can "save a seat" and have it inscribed with the text of your choice. You could commemorate your conversion, remember a departed loved one, or honor your church. I suppose a camper could still get an inscription in the time-honored form AB+CD, but $500 is a bit much to pay and a brass plaque is a bit permanent for what may turn out to be wistful memories of the girl you surreptitiously held hands with during the sermon. It might be worth it, though, if that week-long romance turned into 44 years (and counting) of marriage, as it did for a couple I know.

(Found via the dead-tree version of the Baptist Messenger.)

You're encouraged to carve your favorite Falls Creek memories in the comments.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 8, 2005 10:23 PM.

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