Important Things Happen at Camp
In the mid 1800s throughout the north and south, the phenomenon of camp meetings paralleled a wave of spiritual revival. Simpson Park is Michigan’s oldest such continually-operated camp, recognized by the Michigan Historic Sites registry. The grounds and facilities are available for group events and spiritual retreat rental seven months of the year.
To implement creative ministries that fulfill our vision for building God’s Kingdom.
SIMPSON PARK CAMP
Simpson Park is named for Bishop Matthew Simpson, Abraham Lincoln’s trusted spiritual advisor and confidant. We don’t know whether Honest Abe ever graced this sacred Michigan soil, but the heritage of his era and the integrity of his contemporaries live strong here.
In the early 1800s, the Great Awakening was continuing to inspire spiritual renewal. American Methodists had begun holding informal camp meetings. Initially, these gatherings were summertime extensions of spiritual revival meetings from the winter.
In 1865 the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by geographic districts. On thirteen acres here in Southeast Michigan, Reverend John Russell, the district’s presiding elder, officially established the Romeo District Camp Meeting. During the late 1860s families traveled great distances to gather under the foliage for three weeks of almost uninterrupted religious exercises.
A short time later the Romeo camp was renamed to honor the nationally respected Methodist Bishop Simpson. The President is said to have attributed his Emancipation Proclamation to Simpson’s influence. Later, Simpson would lead the eulogy at Lincoln’s graveside. Bishop Matthew Simpson presided over the 8th session and again at the 20th of the Detroit Annual Conference held in Romeo in 1863 and 1874 respectively.
Since the late 1890s, Simpson Park Camp Meeting Grounds have been operated by a private association, predominantly of United Methodists. In 1907, it was reorganized, and the Reverend William G. Nixon was elected its first president. In 1910, a tabernacle was built and named in Nixon’s honor. It is still in use today.
Many of the children and young people who attended camp meetings went on to become preachers, missionaries and camp leaders. Urging the camp to put an emphasis on the youth program in 1946.
In 1963, the old wooden hotel was updated to a new cement block hotel that still stands today. The recreational pond was also completed at this time. Then in 1967, the prayer chapel was constructed in the valley west of the Nurse's Station. This was a time of growth as Simpson Park grew to be a total of 42 acres by 1972.
Simpson Park Camp became a Michigan State Historical Site in 1981. The plaque was given in 1981 and was placed beside Campground Road near the hotel.
The community events that live to this day were largely started in the 1990's. Potluck dinners that connected the camp. A fellowship hour that takes place after evening service which is now our Ice cream social. Camp also featured many pastors that have attended for years to allow members to hear some of their own friends and families speak.
In 2004, the campground expanded again with the purchase of the Starkweather House and Schoof Barn. This house is one of the significant historical homes in Romeo and is said to be one of the building blocks for Simpson Park Camp from back around 1865 when the camp formed.
The Board reorganized in 2015 to form a stronger path dedicated to making the grounds available for year round use. The camp has taken steps to further this goal by the winterization of the family unit. The camp has also expanded to feature 9 different camps during the summer.
SIMPSON PARK CAMP
We believe in one God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the Holy Scriptures as originally given by God, divinely inspired, infallible, entirely trustworthy; the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God manifests in the flesh, His virgin birth, His sinless human life, His divine miracles, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension, His work as High Priest and mediator, and His personal return in power and glory.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, by whose infilling subsequent to regeneration and in response to full surrender, the believer is enabled to live a holy and blameless life.
We believe in the Salvation of lost and sinful man through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ by repentance and faith.
We believe that continuing in the Christian life requires faithful service and obedience to Christ.
We believe in the Resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and separation from God, and the saved unto the resurrection of immortal life with all that are redeemed.
SIMPSON PARK CAMP
Our Core Values: Family, Retreat, Integrity, Outreach and Worship
Family- We believe the traditional family unit is important. we seek to create ministries that allow family members and individuals to grow in their faith in Jesus Christ and for each one to be ministered to in light of their unique needs.
Retreat- We are purposely built in a simple rustic setting. We encourage disconnecting from the world at large while on our grounds. This is a time to discover God afresh in order to go out and more effectively serve Jesus Christ.
Integrity- We function with honesty and transparency in all of our dealings with each other, as a camp, with the Romeo Community, and in our business relationships.
Outreach- We believe the message of Jesus Christ is a message of salvation that gives strength for today and a bright hope for tomorrow. Because of this, we welcome people to Simpson Park to explore what it means to follow Christ and how this can impact their life.
Worship- We use stories and sermons, music and prayer, or simply exploring the beauty of the setting in our worship. We desire that people regnerate andexplore how God can become central to their lives.
SIMPSON PARK CAMP
The grounds and facilities consist of seventy-seven rustic lodges, cottages and activity spaces, and over 80 RV and tent campsites, are situated village-like on fifty-five acres of woodland and fields.
The quaint charm of this Victorian-era country setting creates a unique, distraction-free environment perfect for important gatherings and memorable events.
During ten days in late July and early August, a Family Camp Meeting gathers, as it has annually since 1865. All are welcome.
The grounds are owned and managed by The Simpson Park Camp Meeting Grounds Association, a Christian, nondenominational, 501(c)(3) organization. Our independent Board of Trustees continues to honor the rich spiritual heritage the Methodists conveyed for over a hundred years.
Simpson Park is a member of the Christian Camp and Conference Association.