Book chronicles Rhodes Grove Camp

From staff reports
This group photo, taken in at the Milton Wright Home in 1937 shows Matron Ada Hoover, at left, and her husband, Superintendent Clarence A. Hoover, at right.

The year 2017 marks a number of milestones for Rhodes Grove Camp, including the publication of the book “Tabernacle Faith: A History of Rhodes Grove Camp.”

The author, Michael Mudge of Cumberland, Maryland, will be on hand for the 50th session of Family Camp over Memorial Day Weekend.

Mudge is a member of the Rhodes Grove Camp capital campaign steering committee working to raise funds for the camp.

“I love history, and I love my church and I love Rhodes Grove Camp," Mudge said. For the past three years, Mudge, has spent his free time paging through historical documents, old newspapers and online communities looking for anything he can find about the Rhodes Grove Camp, which is located on 35 acres off Browns Mill Road between Greencastle and Marion.

The Christian camp and conference center in the village of Kauffman was founded in 1917. It also was home to the Milton Wright Memorial Home, a church-run orphanage and old-folks home, from 1921 to 1970.

Summer youth camps begin in June, and 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the first one in 1942.

Another milestone in August will be the 65th session of the Church of the Brethren camp meeting at Rhodes Grove Camp.

Back in time

Five speakers will be featured during worship sessions this weekend: 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, and 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 29.  All five speakers are United Brethren pastors. Mudge, a pastor in Cumberland, will speak Saturday morning and Dennis Sites from Churchville, Virginia, will be featured Saturday evening. Ron Cook will speak Sunday morning.  Sunday evening, Ron Cook and Ray Seilhamer will present a dramatic skit outdoors, weather permitting, followed by a Communion service.  The Monday morning speaker is James Bolich.

The services are free and open to the public.

Two of the first registrants are Martin Boehm and W. Lee Rhodes. Both Boehm and Rhodes are expected to share testimonies, which will be quite a feat, since both have been dead for well over a century, according to Mudge.

Boehm was one of the first two bishops of the United Brethren in Christ.  At a "Great Meeting" at Isaac Long's barn near Lancaster on Pentecost Sunday 1767, Boehm (a Mennonite) was sharing his testimony of conversion. A German Reformed missionary, Wilhelm Otterbein, was present and was so moved by Boehm's testimony that he rose from his seat, went forward and embraced Boehm and exclaimed "Wir sind Bruder!" (We are brethren!).  It is from this event that the United Brethren in Christ celebrate their 250th anniversary this summer.

Lee Rhodes was the owner of the farm that later became Rhodes Grove Camp. It is known for certain that he was a captain in the Civil War.

For more information contact Rhodes Grove Camp at 717-375-4162 or

Mudge’s book

“Tabernacle of Faith” includes 117 pages of text and 195 photographs. The Index of People includes the names of 1,125 individuals.

Chapter 4 is about the the Milton Wright Memorial Home, a church-run orphanage and old-folks home from 1921 to 1970.  Founded and run by the United Brethren in Christ, it was named for Bishop Milton Wright, father of Orville and Wilbur Wright, who flew the first airplane.  The United Brethren Conference approved the establishment of the institution during its session at Otterbein U.B. Church in Greencastle in 1920.  The King Street U.B. Church in Chambersburg funded the purchase of the remainder of the Antrim Township farm once owned by Capt. W. Lee Rhodes (21 acres having been sold in 1917 to the Rhodes Grove United Brethren Campmeeting Association) and the installation of bathrooms and a new heating system in the old limestone house.

The first resident moved in on May 2, 1921. He was Paul Dunlap of Waynesboro, age 10 at the time.  The home was a working farm teaching good life skills, Mudge explained.  It was managed by married couples, the husband serving as superintendent and the wife as matron. During the first two years, those couples were Mr. and Mrs. William Mayhugh, Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo Baker, and Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Hoover.  For the next 31 years — 1923 to 1954, the superintendent and matron were the Rev. and Mrs. Clarence A. “Ada” Hoover.  From 1954 until it closed in 1970, it was led by Richard "Dick" Reeves and his wife, Lenora "Lee" Reeves.

Additional information is available from Mudge at