The exodus is on!

Watch them inch onto the freeway ramps on Friday afternoon. See the lines of trailers, campers, and tent-type vehicles crawl toward the outskirts of the nation’s big cities. They’re headed for the good times at the lakes, rivers, mountains, and beaches. Before rushing back to suburbia by nightfall Sunday, millions of outdoor enthusiasts this summer will have crammed about forty-eight hours of leisure-time sun and fun into weekends that are slowly lengthening with the advent of standardized Monday holidays and the creeping popularity of the four-day work week.

There may have been a time when church members had strong qualms about forsaking their church for weekend camping or lazing at the cabin.

Few do now.

And many of the estimated 50 million Americans flocking to campgrounds this year wouldn’t be in church on Sunday even if they stayed home.

National interest in camping and tourism has skyrocketed during the past decade. Authorities, citing a steady 12 to 16 per cent increase in camper population annually, predict a 93 per cent rise in all outdoor activities and a total of 7.5 million camping vehicles on the road by 1980. By the turn of the century boating is expected to grow 215 per cent, camping 238 per cent. No wonder government outlays for federal and state acquisition and development of land leaped from $90 million in 1969 to $357 million this year!

Where will we put all the tents, campers, and boats—and people? Already many a campground on a summer night looks like a convention of Coleman lamp dealers.

And will the Church roll with its mobile flock so that somehow the Gospel is presented to the millions who increasingly spend what one cleric has dubbed “unstructured discretionary time” on the road, in the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: