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Author Topic: revival meetings  (Read 3067 times)
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NoahBriggs
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« on: February 05, 2010, 06:43:37 AM »


Back a few years ago I had started to write a short story about a revival meeting.  As in one from the First or Second Great Awakening, circa 1840s or so, probably in the Burnt-Over District in upstate NY.  The interesting thing is that I wrote the story while trying to imagine how a good reenactor group would try it today.  Find a good spot in the woods and/or the field (getting modern permits and all that), near some form of water supply (in reality having portable toilets and a water buffalo tank out of sight).  Build a covered platform, set up the tents, park the wagons and the horses, and have a revival meeting with speakers most of the day.

My only stipulation research wise would be to say that all the public speakers, be they religious spiritual and so on, must stick to period religious topics. Stepping onto my own personal soapbox, I cannot stand field church services at events where they use it as a platform for modern sermons.  Save it for the podium back home, skippy; we want a period sermon, because, oh, I don't know, most of us came out here to experience a slice of nineteenth century history??  Too much to ask for some folks, I see.  Soapbox put away.

Researching, writing, rehearsing period sermons will require a lot more research, true.  But - a lot of sermons are out there, online, un-condensed from their original two-hour format.  So it can be done; it's just a question of people willing to take the time to try it.  And training their voices to project without using a microphone.  If you want that useful skill anyway, I'd suggest Toastmasters International. http://www.toastmasters.org/  Actually, they have a lot of skills reenactors could use in the field.

Civilian-only event, obviously, with a reason (okay, let's not lie, EXCUSE) to camp out, and in its best iteration three to four days.  If anything it would give us a great opportunity to see just how much of an impact religion had on The Original Cast.  And no, don't ask me to organize this because I have not the first clue how to go about doing this.

But I would attend . . .
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Beth Chamberlain
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2010, 11:31:22 AM »

That could be very interesting. Especially if it attracted an appropriate "assortment" of people - some believers following a favorite preacher, some skeptics, some spectators,and of course some obnoxious hecklers. Could modern minds set aside their modern thoughts to really soak it all in? Could it actually attract non-believers who are just curious about the spectacle? Would people walk away with a new view based on what they heard?

I am not the slightest bit religious. Several years ago I saw Tom Kelleher's revival minister impression at Old Sturbridge Village. His character is based on Jedediah Burchard from Vt who was a somewhat colorful revival minister. I left completely understanding how the movement sucked people in and imagining that even I could have been made to see the light.

I don't really do first person but if you ever did this I might be convinced to drag myself out. The many-layered social experiment might be too interesting to miss. Well, that and an excuse to pile on the 40's stuff.  Roll Eyes

Beth
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Men are made in the image of God. Gentlemen are manufactured by tailors,  barbers, and bootblacks. Woman is the last and most perfect work of God. Ladies are the productions of silk-worms, milliners
Heidi Hollister
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2010, 11:56:35 AM »

That would be an event that I would love to attend!  Civilian camp, 1840s, revival meetings... it sounds like a lot of fun.  I think the passion and drama of an 1840s revival meeting is something that modern people just don't understand as it is so far removed from our culture.  It would be fascinating to conjure one up and experience it.  It would be a wonderful way to understand the original cast better.
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LissaWilson
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2010, 01:14:20 PM »

We actually did something sort of close to this last summer, although it was both a modern & period event. Ten different churches (including Catholic and Protestant denominations) worked together on an Oregon 150th event that was a celebration of a revival that occurred in the Willamette Valley in 1859. Parts of the service were modern, but we also adapted a diary record of the revival and reenacted it. It would have been much more fun to do it with a lot of other people, and the area where it occurred is still farmland, so if anyone can get permission and wants to plan an event, I've got the research started for you! 
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Stephanie Brennan
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2010, 07:25:29 AM »

     I just came across a advertisement for a tent meeting. The date escapes me but was early 1830-1840 range. The advertisement asked that no peddler types bother attending. Specifically the gingerbread salesman and several others. So I'm assuming it was common practice for peddlers to show up and attempt to sell goods.             Stephanie
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hanktrent
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2010, 09:32:48 AM »

For an inside look at what went on at one camp meeting, there's the book Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial or any account of the testimony at the trial where Lincoln defended a man accused of murdering another, in a fight at a camp meeting in 1857.

Hank Trent
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Vicki
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2010, 12:20:48 PM »

I believe the folks out at Boonesfield, MO will be attempting a first-person, immersion revival event next fall.  Perhaps you could send VMurphy or Silvana an email. 
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