Another feature that marked the 19th century was the numerous camp meetings. Assemblies in great numbers gathered on areas of ground, under the canopy of the sky, and listened to fiery-spirited evangelists, sometimes standing atop a stump or a wagon, of times preaching in relays throughout the day and into the night. Even heavy rains on some occasions failed to dampen the zeal of the thousands who attended those early camp meetings. From some of these revivals came forth stalwart pioneer preachers of the early days.
The founder of the Portland Apostolic Faith work was deeply impressed in her early life through attending a camp meeting. She and a girl friend slipped away from her home, where she had been brought up under the influence of infidelity, and went across the river to a camp meeting.
Logs were laid across stumps for seats. A bonfire and a few lanterns were the only lights for the meeting. Her heart was touched by the Spirit of God as she heard the words of a sacred song:
Oh, the bleeding Lamb,
The Lamb on Calvary,
The Lamb that was slain
But liveth again
To intercede for me.
God’s convicting Spirit rested on the meeting, and an elderly woman was seen wiping the tears from her eyes with her gingham apron. The girls, too, began to cry but soon left the place. The influence of that one camp meeting had a lasting effect on the young girl who would someday be the founder of this evangelistic organization; and since the year 1907, annual camp meetings have been held by the Apostolic Faith church in Portland.
Although the camp meetings held today are conducted under the shelter of a large, white, dome-shaped tabernacle, on beautifully landscaped grounds in the City of Roses, the same convicting Spirit of God rests on the meetings, leading sinners to a place of repentance, and causing them to seek the old-time religion in the old-fashioned way.