If it’s summer, it is Salkehatchie time for many of us. Many are involved in this youth volunteer mission of repairing homes in South Carolina. In our district churches are involved in hosting, feeding, and helping the camps of Chester, Lancaster, Catawba, Clover, and Rock Hill. Others participate in camps throughout the state. Thanks to all of you who make this mission possible. Do you know how Salkehatchie started?
In 1974 the Rev. John Culp, as a young pastor, was appointed to serve in Hampton County. There he met Roman Catholic nuns who lived there at a center of prayer and presence among the rural poor. The sisters of St. Mary showed John the impoverished homes of the area. They asked, “What are you going to do, John?”
God stirred in John’s heart the idea of a youth work camp. He was inspired by United Methodist efforts in other places. He connected with SC Conference Youth Ministries and UMVIM. Then in June of 1978 the first Salkehatchie camp began. Forty went to Hampton County to make basic repairs on substandard homes. It was hot, dirty, and hard work. It was life changing for the families helped and for the volunteers.
A few weeks after that first camp the validity of this service was affirmed. John Culp, as a volunteer fire department chaplain, responded to a house fire in which three children were killed. The fire was caused by faulty wiring. John knew the little wooden shack could have been made safe with a little know how and basic materials. Compassion moved John to continue connecting volunteers to people in need. And Salkehatchie Summer Service continues to do just that.
The story of Salkehatchie Summer Service started in John Culp’s heart invites these questions of us all:
- Do you see your neighbor in need?
- Does God’s compassion to help move you?
- What are you going to do?
Learn more about Salkehatchie Summer Service by reading Send Me! The Story of Salkehatchie Summer Service or visit www.salkehatchie.org.