Hundreds of people will be pouring into Williamsburg for the 56th Annual Old Fashion Brush Arbor Meeting, which is a tent style revival.
The five-day event starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday and is located off Brush Arbor Road in Williamsburg with meetings starting at 7 p.m. nightly.
“We have a good old fashion tent revival under a metal shed,” said Rev. Jerry Sester, who is currently president of the Old Fashion Brush Arbor Meeting. “We have pine limbs cut up over the top of us and wood shavings on the dirt floor with 250 chairs underneath and we just sing and preach and leave our denominations and doctrines outside for a week and worship the Lord.”
Sester said that on Friday and Saturday nights of the meeting, there are typically between 200 to 250 people in attendance, who come as far away as Tennessee, Michigan and Indiana.
“Our whole community up there, Brush Arbor Church Road and everything, got its name from the Brush Arbor meetings that began up there,” Sester noted.
Rev. Bill Childers and his wife, Martha, started the event 56 years ago as a way to honor the way that the old people worshiped when they started in April and went through October under a lean-to with brush on top of it and a sawdust floor underneath.
“He wanted to have a one-year memorial service so he started at the McCreary County 4-H Camp then he moved to Williamsburg,” said Sester, who is Childers’ son-in-law.
The event took place in McCreary County for the first three years before moving to Whitley County where it has remained for the last 53 years.
Sester admits that he is surprised the event has lasted 56 years.
Sester said that his wife, Rena, promised her father on his deathbed 20 years ago that they would continue the event as long as they were able.
“His dream that he thought would end is still going on,” he added.
Each year at the event, organizers display a sign that says, “the tradition continues.”
On Wednesday night, Rev. Brian Rountree of Brays Chapel Church of God and members of his congregation will be in charge of the singing and preaching.
Randy Steeley from Solid Rock Baptist Church in Corbin will be in charge of the service on Thursday night with his church’s youth choir singing.
On Friday night, Dr. William Boyd Bingham III of Binghamtown Baptist Church in Middlesboro will be preaching with Donna and Dallas Brock of the Believer’s singing.
Saturday night is Old Fashion Night with Mt. Ash Baptist Church Pastor Billy Carpenter preaching with Rev. Herschel Walker leading the singing out of the old “Red Songbook.”
The special guest that night will be Reed Elliotte and his parents giving their inspiring testimonies about Reed’s battle with very serious, ongoing illnesses.
On Sunday morning, Sunday school will be held under the Brush Arbor Shelter at 10 a.m. followed by special preaching and singing by those in attendance.
Sester said the shelter house off Brush Arbor Road has seating for about 250 people, but that people are invited to bring their lawn chairs and come out for the service. He promises that there is adequate parking.
To get to the event, turn onto Main Street and then onto Brush Arbor Church Road behind the waterpark and follow the signs.
Anyone wanting more information about the event is asked to contacted Jerry or Rena Sester at 549-3086 or 344-3883.