A Special Place by the River
Albright Park is not just a camp. It’s a place for healing, a place for growth.
It is a place where children are safe to run free.
We know that we are set free in Christ and we seek to share that freedom with all who enter.
There is a rich history behind the camp, a history that shows a deep love of Jesus Christ, and we plan to carry that legacy on. We know that we are blessed to make a difference in each life.
Through our partners, we host a camp for adults with special needs and another for children of incarcerated parents/guardian. The summer schedule also includes awesome and energetic church camps, family camping, family reunions and more.
The facilities are also available to your group. Albright Park welcomes people of all abilities and has a great layout for accessible programming. Churches, community groups, schools, businesses and families are welcome. No church affiliation is required.
Please let us know how we can serve you in this sacred space.
The first camp meeting was held in 1898 in John Hainbecker’s wood lot about one half mile west of the present location. Meetings were held there for the following three years. Then, in 1901, the Camp Association leased 10 acres from the railroad to hold services in the beautiful groves on the banks of the Hersey River. In 1907, after much prayer, the site was bought from the Pere Marquette Railroad Company for $200 and named Albright Park. Much credit goes to Reverend Riebel for the purchase of this property.
In the early years, around 1902, a big tent was used. Men from the Reed City and Hersey churches met on Wednesday or Thursday evenings to establish the large tent with its tall wooden poles. To complete this task, they used ropes and ladders and thoroughly anchored the ropes to stakes driven in the ground outside. After the big tent was up, the men would help each other put up their own individual tents.
In 1918, an evangelist named David Hill saw the need for a permanent structure to be erected as a tabernacle. He gave council and advice as to how much of the material required could be cut from trees growing on the grounds and shortly thereafter in 1919, the present tabernacle that is 6,480 square feet in size was erected.
Dr. Wendell Bassett, a District Superintendent in the early 1970s, usually hurriedly ate his dinner and then brought the guest speaker to as many picnic groups as he could to chat a bit and make everyone feel welcome. Many groups came from as far away as Rockford, Grand Rapids, Ludington, Scottville, Traverse City and Evart. They would bring their picnic dinners to join the people of the local area. Over 500 to 800 in attendance on Sundays was not unusual. Once many people owned cars, and on especially nice Sundays, attendance would be near the 1,000 mark.
Hannah Dalstrom, who later became the wife of George Bernard, the author of “The Old Rugged Cross”, was our very talented pianist for many years.
A vesper bowl with a stone pulpit has been erected on the banks of the Hersey River where some of the services are conducted when the weather permits.
The dining hall was erected in 1907 and in 1925 was enlarged with a kitchen added and enough dormitory rooms were added to accommodate 50 people.
Tents gave way to cottages in 1920. The Chapel in the Woods was erected in 1945.
Up until recently, the camp was operated by the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church’s camp and retreat ministry. Michigan Area United Methodist Camping, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that operates nine camps, retreat centers and campgrounds in the state (on behalf of the West Michigan and Detroit Conferences of the United Methodist Church), now owns the site and makes it available for group use.Support