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Salem Campmeeting hotel annex added
Campmeeting to bring highly-respected ministers to annual event
Sam Ramsey, center, helps finish up work on the hotel annex. (Jackie Gutknecht | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. - Sam and Becky Ramsey are ready to see their hard work in use next week as Salem Campmeeting starts and the newly added Hotel Annex, donated by the Ramseys, is in use for the first time.

The Salem Campground Hotel was built in 1938 and the new annex is its first addition. The hotel annex includes four bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. Becky said the annex will be used by the Campmeeting ministers.

Salem Campmeeting is special because of the preaching involved in the week-long worship, Sam said. Included in this year’s Campmeeting is services by Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, Rev. Dr. Charley Reeb and Rev. Dr. Jason Dees. Music will be provided by several choirs including a Hattian orphan choir and the Smyrna youth choir.

“It’s a combination of worship and fellowship in the camping environment,” Becky said. “It’s casual, but it’s a time for a retreat-type getaway where you can focus on God’s word and prayer and meditation.”

Included this year is also a special Salem Sweet Spirit 5K walk/run event, Saturday, July 15 at 8 a.m.

“We feel like we sort of have a little taste of Heaven here,” Becky said.

The Ramseys have grown up attending the Salem Campmeeting and are excited to continue the tradition this year.

“I’m 78 years old and I’ve been here for 79 years,” Sam said. Sam’s mother attended Salem Campmeeting while she was pregnant with him 79 years ago. “I never have missed a year.”

Becky grew up in Atlanta in a Baptist family. She said the first year she attended the Salem Campmeeting she was thrilled with it and has been back every year since. Sam and Becky Ramsey met at Becky’s first-ever visit to Salem Campmeeting.

“When I came on to the campus, it was just the love of everyone here, that inclusive experience, because people were reaching out to me to include as part of this Christian community,” she said. “The people here welcome all people that want to come.”

To see a full schedule of events for this year’s Salem Campmeeting, visit

Bishop Sue Haupert- Johnson

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson is the episcopal leader of North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. A Florida native, Bishop Haupert-Johnson (or “Bishop Sue”) received her J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law and her M.Div. from Candler School of Theology. She was a federal law clerk and a litigator with the Tampa law firm of Carlton, Fields before she answered her call to ministry. Bishop Sue has served large membership churches across Florida and the North Central District Superintendent of the Florida Annual Conference. She is married to Rev. Allen Johnson and they have one daughter, Samantha.

Mr. Thomas Roberts- Music

Mr. Thomas R. Roberts has been our music director and platform leader since 1989. He serves as Principal and Chief Operations officer in Waste to Energy companies (international environmental engineering, management, and consulting firms) with offices in Pompano Beach, Florida. Mr. Roberts has also served as full-time director in music in United Methodist and Presbyterian churches from 1966 to 1992. He and his wife, Susan, served as the directors of the Chancel Choir t Christ Church United Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, from 1998 to 2007. During the fall of 2009 through January 2010, Tom served as Interim Director of the Chancel Choir of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tome and Susan reside in Coral Springs, Florida and are members of Coral Springs FUMC. Their daughter Catherine, her husband Michael Givens and grandson Thomas Drake (T.D) live nearby.

Rev. Dr. Charley Reeb- Preacher

Charley Reeb currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Pasadena Community Church (UMC) in St. Petersburg, Florida. He received his M.Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary. He has written for Circuit Rider & Preaching magazine and is the author of four books. His latest book, “That’ll Preach! Five Simple Steps to Your Best Sermon Ever,” was just released in May. Charley teaches preaching for the Course of Study School at Candler School of Theology and the License to preach school for the Florida Conference of the UMC. Charley is married to Brandy Reeb. He also writes online at

Alice Walker and Becky Ramsey- Duo Pianists

Alice Walker and Becky Ramsey, identical twins, are originally from Atlanta, Georgia. They both hold BA degrees from Agnes Scott College, and have earned two certifications from the American Guild of Organists, Colleague (CAGO) and Associate (AAGO). Playing duets together since the age of five, they have been pianists at Salem Camp Ground since 1971. Alice is Organist and Director of the Ambassador Choir at First Presbyterian Church, Covington. She is a past Moderator of Presbyterian Women and has been appointed Leader of District Five of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery. Alice is a past Certified Speaker of the United Methodist Church and has served as President of the Clergy Spouses of the Atlanta- Roswell District and the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Becky is Organist and Director of Music for Senior Adults at Covington First United Methodist Church and is Director of Spiritual Growth for the United Methodist Women. She serves on the Intercessory Prayer Team; the Caring, Conservation and Commitment Team; and the Come to the Table Food Ministry of First Church Methodist Church. She holds the Conference level certification as Lay Servant of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Alice is married to Ken Walker, retired from WSB Television, and Becky to Sam Ramsey, President of Ramsey Furniture Company and former Mayor of Covington.

Rev. Dr. Jason Dees- Preacher

Jason Dees is currently leading a church plant, Christ Covenant Buckhead, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the former pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington, Georgia and has since pastored Valleydale Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Jason received his M.Div. and Ph.D. in Theology from Southern Seminary. He is married to the former Paige Raynor and they have three children (Emery Anna, John Kellis, and Raynor). Jason writes online at

Rev. Andrew Covington- Youth Minister

Andrew is a well-known face around the Camp Ground and the community. He has serves churches in Conyers, Covington, and beyond. He has also served the youth of Salem Camp Meeting for 5+ years! Andrew is an ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and he is excited to join us for another year.