Wilderness Outcry to go on in scaled-down format

Thursday, May 13, 2010

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The religious gathering known as Wilderness Outcry will still happen this summer, perhaps more organically than before, since regional spiritual leaders have picked up where national figures left off.

Due to the outpouring of support from those planning to attend what is now being called a prayer gathering at Moriah Ranch, slated for June 14-18 at 444 County Road 543, Jerry Murphy recently put out a press release stating that the gates to his property are still open.

The announcement came after Dutch Sheets of Colorado canceled his involvement because of a lack of funding less than two months out, even though he had been orchestrating the planning efforts since last summer.

"I have been contacted by people from all over the USA and other countries that plan to be on the land and pray for the nation that week," Murphy said. "There will be individuals, groups, churches and ministries coming together to unify in one accord."

Murphy, a Christian businessman who owns Gamma HealthCare in Poplar Bluff, admitted he felt some "shock and disappointment" after learning that Sheets suddenly pulled out but soon, he said, he was "overjoyed" that people appeared unfazed, judging by their reaction on social media networks.

"It is time to draw a line in the sand between good and evil," Murphy said, "and I believe there is a group of people from all over this nation that are ready to make that stand at Moriah Ranch and repent for all our sins and call on God to heal our land."

The event will no longer feature a large stage and Jumbotron with renowned speakers and gospel music groups, but rather multi-denominational visitors simply worshiping together throughout the camp.

"The bulk of people that say they're coming are doing so to pray, not to hear a particular person preach or listen to their favorite musician," explained Jack Dilday, pastor of the Dominion World Outreach Center in Poplar Bluff. "I believe it has even escalated to more than what it was, not in terms of a crowd, but in that there is now one general purpose, to let God do what he does and take man's hand out of the mix, which is getting back to Jerry's original vision."

It remains unknown how many will show up, but Murphy said he was up to 800 e-mails from people from 41 states, as far as Alaska, aiming to arrive in groups. As the date draws near, Murphy noted, he plans to open up voluntary registration on his new Web site, www.moriahranchpb.com.

There were reportedly more than 10,000 people that were previously registered to come via the Wilderness Outcry Web site, www.wildernessoutcry.com. Sheets, who apparently still maintains the site, recently posted an announcement stating full refunds are being provided for those who paid for a campsite for his version of the event. Inquiries can be sent through e-mail at questions@wildernessoutcry.com.

There now will be no charge for primitive camping on Murphy's more than 400 acres, he said, however, he has set up a not-for-profit organization for those that wish to make a donation to help him recoup the costs endured. He and his wife Sandra Murphy have made a "significant" investment in the property to accommodate more than 100,000, he explained, which has included clearing timber, building a bridge over a stream, landscaping and providing erosion control.

Vendors are still being solicited, although they must be self-contained in terms of supplying generators to meet the safety requirements set by the Butler County Health Department. Portable restrooms will be made available.

Jean Hillis, who manages Camelot RV Campground in Poplar Bluff, said a few out-of-town visitors that had plans to stay outside of the property have canceled their reservations due to the change in format, but her 76 sites are still about half-booked during the five days. One couple is flying in all the way from Jerusalem, according to a letter Hillis received, which included a payment.

"I spoke to several people that are still drawn to the theme of having a prayer for our nation," Hillis said. "It doesn't have to be so commercialized, people just want to keep it simple."

For more information about the revamped prayer gathering at Moriah Ranch, e-mail moriahranch@gmail.com or call the temporary office at 573-727-9437 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Map of pertinent addresses

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