The Salvation Army and The Chosen continue partnership with opening of dedicated structures at Camp Hoblitzelle
By: Brad Rowland
On Thursday, October 6, The Salvation Army and The Chosen further cemented a growing and fruitful partnership with the official ribbon-cutting and opening of new construction at Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas. The Chosen, created by Dallas Jenkins and distributed by Angel Studios, is a seven-season television program focused on the life of Jesus, earning a world record as the highest crowd-funded video project of all-time. Still, as The Chosen navigated its second season, Jenkins and his team needed filming locations, and with the help of a viewer pointing the program’s leadership to The Salvation Army, a collaboration was born.
Jenkins was introduced to Casey Bilbrey, director of operations for Camp Hoblitzelle, and a tour of the property led Jenkins to a vision of what was to come.
“The Salvation Army has been an extraordinary partner throughout this process, and it did start with Casey,” Jenkins said. “He’s been a brother through the process and will continue to be.”
The Chosen constructed a one-of-a-kind, 30,000 square-foot soundstage, temperature and sound controlled with 16 inches of insulation. The structure helped to expedite the content production by allowing The Chosen’s sets to be maintained and turned over quickly.
In addition, The Chosen and The Salvation Army partnered on the permanent construction of a recreated village of Capernaum, built on the site of Fort Tejas. More than 85 percent of wood used to construct Fort Tejas in 1971 was repurposed for the project, and The Salvation Army plans to make extensive use of the area for camp instruction and biblical teaching.
“This is not only about a vision for the future, this is about gratitude for the present,” Jenkins said. “I thank each and every one of you for listening and for serving, and for giving the loaves and fish that you have and making them the best they can be.”
Major Barry Corbitt, general secretary of the Texas Division and a primary liaison with The Chosen, indicated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that the “possibilities are endless” for the newly constructed locations, citing a film camp already held at Camp Hoblitzelle and extensive plans for future camp experiences. In addition, The Chosen recently wrapped on its third season of filming and, earlier in the process, filmed the moving scene of the “Feeding of the 5,000,” which Jenkins indicated simply would not have been possible without The Salvation Army’s hospitality and partnership.
“The people from The Salvation Army and the people from The Chosen are really aiming to be Kingdom builders,” said Bilbrey. “Everything that’s being done here is to bring Christ to the world. The hearts and the mission of The Chosen so aligns with what the Army is already doing. Our collective mission is to bring the love of Christ to a world that needs it. One is doing it through the ministry and service of the Army, and the other is doing it through film, but we’re both aiming to do the same thing.”