Willimantic Camp Meeting Association
The historic Willimantic Camp Meeting Association, established on September 3, 1860, is one of the oldest continuing religious camp meetings on the east coast. Founded by Methodists, the Willimantic Camp Meeting Association was established on 35 acres of land on the outskirts of historic Willimantic, Connecticut as a place of evangelism and renewal. The "Shouting Methodists" joy-filled, worshipful style could be fully expressed here in this once remote, choice hillside setting. Once a year various "Meeting Societies" from throughout Connecticut felt called to gather together on these grounds for week long encampments, bringing people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ through evangelism.
In the early days, papers document that eight to ten thousand people each day could be found on our "Holy Grounds" for these week long meetings around the 1870's. Platform tents gave way to cottages as the Association grew. The WCMA has managed to survive to this day, through the challenges of wartimes, the Great Depression and the Hurricane of 1938.
Today, we remain a non-profit Christian organization operating under the auspices of the United Methodist Conference, and count as our members both active and retired UMC pastors, as well as members whose families (the brethren who "prayed us down through the ages") date back to our founders. At the same time our Association has become more diversified and many of our members represent other Christian communities of faith as well, both denominational and non-denominational. We include in our programming a variety of leaders, musicians and members whose backgrounds represent this diversity.
We continue to maintain an active summer program featuring weekly prayer meetings and various services, and an annual Camp Meeting Week, now usually held the last full week in July, featuring a Vacation Bible School among its week-long activities. We have grown from being a "summer only" camp meeting association, to one where we have many year-round residents and programs.