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Camp Patten History

For over fifty years, Camp Patten has provided brief periods of respite from the bustle of urban living for the members of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist State Convention currently comprised of twenty-one churches throughout the state of New Mexico.  People from across the state of New Mexico have regularly come together to campout, fellowship, play games, and enjoy the blessings of our natural environment.


In the early 1950s, Stella Jones, Gladys and Robert Richards from Tucumcari, NM, Reverend J.S. Patten, Essie English, Reverend J. A. Hopkins, Glen Chelf and other young people from Shiloh began going to a site in the Manzano Mountains that they believed to be the Camp Patten property.  It was later discovered that the actual property was in a different location.  However, this was the beginning of an annual journey on the 4th of July for other convention members like the Potters and Nances from Clovis and with other members from Albuquerque. Early fund raisers and rallies for the camp were held by Sister English.  In 1962 after becoming the pastor of Mt. Calvary in Tucumcari, Reverend Wilson Holly and Sister Willie L. Holly continued the support of the 4th of July outings to Camp Patten.


Our convention members (many deceased) have always envisioned a facility on our land. In 1969 Brother and Sister Eddie English donated their home in Albuquerque to the convention for the camp. It was loaded on house moving dollies, towed to the camp and placed on the north side of the property. The plan was to use the structure for meetings and events at the campsite.  A fire was set by homeless individuals inhabiting the camp area prior to the repurposing of the building and the structure was torn down.


In 1979, after many struggles, President L. E. Hightower was able to get the convention to agree to the construction of the recreation camp and picnic area. The convention Laymen under the leadership of Glen E. Chelf cut trees on the land and sold cords of wood to benefit the camp and make way for the present area.  Some of the laymen that were key in this effort were Brothers William Brown, Eddie Smith, Jr., Robert McBeth, Zollie Williams and Eugene Baker.  A fence was also added around the property line as well as picnic tables within the camp area. 


When Reverend J. R. Shiner became president of the convention, the annual day at the camp was changed to the first weekend in August.  Brother Zollie Williams became the operations and maintenance manager and superbly handled all of the Camp business on behalf of the Convention until 2005 due to health reasons. He served the Camp and Convention admirably during his tenure.


In 2004, the canopy over the picnic tables was added by Brothers Lewis Foster, Zollie Williams, Robert McBeth and other Laymen. This work was halted when the planning for the project to begin construction on an actual building started.


When the announcement was made in 2005 that the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist State Convention under the leadership of Reverend James E. Forney intended to develop the property, opposition came from many directions. A hearing was held before the Bernalillo County Commissioners to stop the project, however through the Grace of God, the opposition failed, and the convention was allowed to continue the project with specific requirements for the usage of the facility.


Construction of the facility began July 5, 2006, under the leadership of Reverend James E. Forney and the assistance of Reverend Dr. Charles E. Becknell, Sr., with oversight of the building project by Glen E. Chelf, Shirley Ragin, Robert McBeth and Zollie Williams.  The first building was completed after five years of hard work.  On Friday, July 22, 2011, Camp Patten was dedicated for the Glory of God and use by His people during the 100th anniversary of the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist State Convention.


The main building is approximately 5,000 square feet with a wrap-around covered porch, equipped with inside facilities, a full-service kitchen, chapel, seven classrooms, and a dining/multi-purpose room. The camp is usually open between March and October each year and usually closed from November through February due to inclement weather.


The Lord had his hand upon the camp throughout the process providing a way.  From the early days of collecting and selling cans to being able to burn the mortgage; God has been good.  Many dedicated and committed individuals and groups have contributed to our progress financially and with volunteer labor. 


Our purpose has been the same since the beginning; to build a facility designed to train people in general and youth in particular in the traditional moral, ethical, and religious principles that are the foundation of the church.

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