About Us
Camp History & Current Information
We, the Board and volunteers of The Mary B. Mullen Bible Camp, Inc, are seeking to refurbish the camp which is located at 1900 Freemantown Road, Lake Lure, NC. The camp was founded in 1906 by Missionaries Ida Ingraham, Mary Mullen, local African American farmers and others, for the purpose of providing an education for African Americans who, at that time, were not able to obtain such training in the public school system. The land, over 50 acres, was donated by the Christian Missionary Alliance of New York, by African American farmers of the area, and by Missionaries Izetta Gamble and Theodosia Phoenix. The camp became inactive in recent years and, until a new Board was elected in June 2006, the Trustees of St. John Missionary Baptist Church of Lake Lure served as overseers of the camp. Thus, the camp holds its’ own deed and is now operated by volunteers of the community with policies established by an elected Board representing the members of local churches and members at large.
The camp, formerly named “The Mullen Bible Training School,” was a unique setting for the education of African Americans; first as a grade school—then as a high school. The school suffered two fires —first in 1916 then again in 1922—but remained active until 1943 when it was temporarily closed due to financial difficulties. The school reopened in 1948 and was approved as a training facility for adult religious education by the Department of Public Instruction of the State of North Carolina allowing veterans to enroll under the G.I. Bill of Rights. It closed again in 1953 due to lack of funding. Subsequently, the camp was utilized periodically for Bible Study, for Vacation Bible School and for Christian Training Workshops conducted by various missionaries, ministers, and evangelists down through the years.
The school, renamed The Mary B. Mullen Bible Camp, Inc., was incorporated December 15, 1988. During the 1990’s, the camp again experienced many “ups and downs” and was utilized for only two summers. It was basically neglected and proceeded to grow up in weeds, underbrush, and trees. Currently, the camp is being restored by volunteers and has been approved by the IRS as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Our mission is to develop the entire property into a useful community setting which will serve the citizens of not only Rutherford County but neighboring counties as well by providing the following: A retreat and/or conference center; camping facilities; walking/hiking/nature trails; picnic pavilions; provisions for general public use where families can conduct reunions, religious gatherings and special community programs.
This camp will not only provide recreational, park-like facilities for the general public, but is being designed to accommodate all people of all ages ranging from preschoolers to senior citizens including at-risk kids, and individuals with moderate handicapping conditions. It will incorporate such flexibility so as to operate from time to time as one or more of the following: a retreat center, a day camp, a resident camp, and/or a trip/travel camp. The camp offerings will hopefully include activities such as workshops, arts/crafts, computer/technology, self-improvement seminars, drama, leadership development, sports, team building, self-empowerment, outdoor education, etc. We also plan to make the following recreational facilities available: softball field, basketball court, game room, miniature golf course and/or driving range, gymnasium, ropes/challenge course, soccer field, swimming pool, tennis court, volleyball court, and a playground. Some of our goals/ideas may change based on the needs of the community as we are still in the planning stage. The camp will be available to Christian and non-Christian groups as well.
Since 2006, camp volunteers (both local and out-of-state) have cleared much of the property and have made numerous repairs including: construction of a multi-purpose pavilion, a new bathroom, a new shower house, and a new pump house. New window screens and doors have been installed in the dormitory as well as the repair of windows, ceilings, floors and closets; handicapped ramps have been constructed along with the painting of buildings and installation of new lights. The Chapel has also been painted with new windows and doors installed, new support pillows built, and a new handicap ramp. Horseshoe pits, a softball field, corn toss games, pickle-ball court and a new playground have been set up. A make-shift office for the camp is also being set up. We annually conduct “million penny drives,” car wash events, yard sales and bake sale fundraisers. Numerous reunions and programs have already taken place at the camp. Progress is good but much work remains to be done such as completion of the shower house, completion of the cafeteria and dining area, putting gutters and down spouts on all the buildings, and paving the entry road and parking lot.
The camp is initially funded by grants, donations and fundraisers. Additionally, the “wish list” below was developed based on current needs. Thank you in advance for your support!
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Mary B. Mullen Bible Camp, Inc.
A Non-Denominational Camp