Before Sutherland Springs became infamous for the killing of twenty-six people at a Baptist church service, that little town had a lot in common with the 128-year-old Bloys Cowboy Camp meeting we discovered outside Fort Davis. Both towns once helped pioneer religion flourish with their giant outdoor gatherings. Bloys Cowboy Campmeeting is still practicing frontier faith in far West Texas in a compound little changed in all these years.
Camp meetings were a phenomenon of frontier Christianity. The concept was brought west by thousands of settlers of Scot-Irish roots. These settlers were moving into new territories without towns or churches or ordained ministers. Itinerant preachers filled the void, finding an open patch of ground for a pulpit. Word would then spread to isolated settlers who traveled miles and days to get a religious experience and some feeling of community. [Read more…]