Two hundred years ago, while envisioning the campus design for the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson wrote to a colleague describing how the buildings should be arranged:
“… Would strongly recommend … instead of one immense building, to have a small one for every professorship, arranged at proper distances around a square, this village form is preferable to a single great building for many reasons, particularly on account of fire, health, economy, peace and quiet. …”
Jefferson knew that growth, whether intellectual or spiritual, occurs more readily in communities — communities where people could interact in a safe and peaceful way both inside and outside the buildings.
This is no less true in design today. Linden Valley seeks to prove it with the new cabins being constructed along the Buffalo River.
The $2 million Birch Village — four cabins housing 64 new beds, arranged around common deck spaces, is nearing completion. Birch — and the three additional villages master planned to follow — will have its own meeting space called a “Town Hall” for 60 to 80 people.
Common decks connect the town halls and cabins and will provide outdoor places for guests to gather for fellowship, Bible study, or time alone with the Lord. The cabins feature abundant windows to invite the ‘outside in’ and more showers than any other cabins on the property. Linden Valley can’t wait to show them off.
Seventy-five years ago, Tennessee WMU saw the need for just such places. “We must have a place for our children to attend camp,” they said. That vision resulted in not just one but two beautiful 400-bed camps opening in 1949 — Linden Valley on the Buffalo River in Perry County and Carson Springs on the English Mountain in Cocke County.
Each 150-acre property opened because of the vision of WMU and generosity of Tennessee Baptists. Today, nearly 75 years later, they have witnessed thousands upon thousands of decisions for Christ. The legacy must continue, we must continue to have a place.
On May 21, we’ll observe the Day of Prayer for Tennessee Baptist Conference Centers. Join us in praying for three specific things.
First, pray for Birch Village. Each of the 64 beds will be filled at least six times this summer — 384 guests in the new cabins alone. And we know historically that one out of 25 of those guests will give their hearts to Christ during their stay at Linden. Please pray for those salvations — 15 students — who will soon become followers of Christ.
Pray also for funding. Construction costs are sobering in today’s economy and while we’re enormously proud of our team for taming the budget in every possible way on Birch, it will be no less expensive as we undertake to build villages two, three and four.
Join us in imploring the Lord to raise up those who share the dream and the vision of camp, those who wish to continue the 75-year legacy of these places.
Finally, would you pray about becoming a donor or a volunteer yourself?
Maybe you’re not willing at this time but would you then pray that God would make you willing to be willing?
There is no doubt God has used and will continue to use Linden Valley and Carson Springs to call men and women unto himself just as He has for the past 75 years.
There is no doubt that places of connection, places of recreation and places of escape from the noise of a busy world are just the type of places that God uses to raise up leaders.
There is no doubt that the vision from the mountain and the stillness of the river are places where God’s redemptive and restorative spirit are poured out on a hurting generation.
If it is to continue, it is up to us to join hands with the legacy and reach forward to the future to deliver these places to a new generation. To God be the glory. B&R — For more information about how you can give and pray or to see more information about the Linden Valley Cabin Village project, visit https://tnbaptistcamps.org/donate/.