Saturday, May 17, 2008

Revival at Baugo

A reminder of typical "Revival Meetings" in the early 1900s come from these words written by Kermit Eby in his 1958 book For Brethren Only. This excerpt from the chapter titled "Revival at Baugo."

Our yearly revival meetings at Baugo were held in the winter months of December, January, and February. Then the days were short and the nights long. The work on the farm was restricted to chores and, weather permitting, an occasional day of wood cutting. Winter, the season of snow and bobsleds, facilitated the transportation problems of revival meeting time. One night Whislers would pickup Troxels, Harters, Ebys, and all the other intervening neighbors. The next time would be the Troxel's turn, then the Harters', then ours. What fun we children had singing, snowballing, or running behind the racing sleds to keep our feet warm!

But revival meeting was a serious business. Souls were to be saved, and backsliders were to be brought back to the straight and narrow Dunker way. The first and most important step in insuring a successful revival meeting was the selection of the minister. Really good revivalists, men who could guarantee an increase of at least twenty new members, had to be spoken for several years in advance.

Church attendance always picked up on revival meeting Sundays. The lukewarm dropped in; so did the chronic sufferers from Sunday headaches. The meeting normally lasted two weeks. It began on Sunday morning and concluded with a Sunday evening service. However, occasionally, when the interest reached its climax late, and the unconverted were seen to be still wavering, the meetings were extended one or even two weeks more.