I Remember Dad: Reflections of Dad’s Camp Meeting Sermons

By Richard Mabey Jr.

My Dad spent many, many hours writing and reviewing his Christian talks for the big evangelical weekend camp meetings. Dad touched the lives of many individuals with his sincere and earnest presentations.

Most people know that my Dad was a Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170 for over 25 years. And, most people know that my Dad served as Vice President of the Beavertown Historical Society for over 10 years. But, very few people know that my Dad served as a Lay Leader of the Boonton United Methodist Church for nearly 20 years.

Dad was also served with a Christian outreach group that presented evangelistic meetings for Methodist churches throughout the USA. Dad, with Mom’s supporting help, would present sermons for weekend camp meetings, mostly along the eastern seaboard. In time, my Dad developed a very sincere and earnest quality in his sermons. 

To clarify, Dad would not be the only speaker on the agenda for the weekend evangelic camp meetings. A good dozen or so individuals would present sermons for the weekend meetings. Dad took this job very seriously. I was so very proud of him for his wholesome, down-to-earth, heart-felt stories that he would share during his Christian presentations.

Dad would draw upon his recollections of his years as a Scoutmaster, the people he met along his travels as a long-distance truck driver, his memories of serving in the Seventh Army Air Corps during World War II, and of course his role as a husband and father. 

I was always impressed with the time that Dad spent studying and preparing for one of his sermons. This was an era before home computers. So, my Dad had to study his Bible the old-fashioned way, without the benefit of Internet cross referencing. Dad loved the Gospel of John. He also often referred to the Book of Psalms and the Book of Proverbs, a lot of times in his Christian talks.

I remember that there was a distinct meter to my Dad’s sermons. Dad was not an emotional speaker. He did not raise his voice. He simply spoke in a most steadfast, compelling manner that rang with a truth of sincerity and a poetic earnest quality. I was always, all so proud of my Dad for all of his hard work to bring truth to the people who came to the camp meetings.

Now, that I’m 66 years old, I find myself reflecting more and more of all of my Dad’s wonderful accomplishments in his life. I so deeply regret that I never videotaped any of Dad’s sermons. They were often simple stories of life lessons and would have a Biblical reference. My father touched the lives of hundreds of hundreds of people with his camp meeting sermons, his many years of volunteer service as a Scoutmaster, his dedicated service to the Beavertown Historical Society, and his friendly spirit that flowed from his heart in his many journeys cross country in his job as a long-distance truck driver.

I’d give an eyetooth to talk with my Dad again, for just five minutes. If your Dad is still on this side of Heaven’s Gate, please do consider giving him a phone call tonight, or visit him in the next few days. If your Dad is living a considerable distance from where you are, please consider getting pen and paper and write him an old-fashioned letter to send off in the mail. None of us have a guarantee on how much time we have left upon this old earth. Please don’t put off for tomorrow, what you can do today, when it comes to letting family members know that you love and appreciation them.

Till next month, I’ll say fare-thee-well. Keep a good thought and a smile upon your face. 


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