Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Grimsby—Headquarters Town

The morning after Mrs. White's arrival she and her party, accompanied by M. C. Wilcox, took the train for Grimsby, where the mission and publishing work had been headquartered since 1884. EGWE 39.3

Arriving at the mission office at 72 Heneage Street, Ellen White met Alfred Mason and his wife, Inez, Evangelist Sands H. Lane and his wife, Parmelia, and Jennie Thayer. All of these were Americans who had come to help with the British Mission.* EGWE 39.4

According to W. C. White, Grimsby was a place of 30,000 inhabitants, and “the greatest fishing port in England.” “A strange place,” he observed, “from which to issue our paper, nevertheless there have been over 9,000 copies sent out monthly’ (W. C. White letter, September 18, 1885). EGWE 40.1

Mrs. White remembered Grimsby as “a very large place,” but not large enough to be “called a city because it had no grand cathedral” (Letter 22, 1885). But here she began her public speaking endeavors, which were to take her before many audiences, large and small, in eight countries of Europe. EGWE 40.2

Friday afternoon a drenching rain threatened to cut down the attendance considerably, but 170 braved the elements to hear Ellen White lecture on “Christian Temperance,” one of her favorite subjects. At the close of her address she was greeted with enthusiastic applause! EGWE 40.3

The next morning at half past ten she met with the little church in Grimsby to deliver her first Sabbath sermon. About thirty-five were present, including ten who had come in from Hull and Ulceby. A. A. John* was there from Wales, where he had been witnessing since early summer. EGWE 40.4

In the sermon that Sabbath morning the messenger of the Lord shared some experiences from the pioneer days of the cause. She told of the sacrifices that were made, and spoke of the responsibility that fell on each member to make further sacrifices to carry the “present truth” to others. Then she went on to assure the little church that the time would come when many would embrace the truth in the United Kingdom. EGWE 40.5

“Many of them were bathed in tears,” that Sabbath morning, she wrote in her diary. After the service she was introduced to each member of the congregation, and those from Hull and Ulceby begged her to come to their towns to speak, also. EGWE 41.1

In the afternoon the Sabbath school was held. Ellen White spoke thirty minutes, and others followed in a “social,” or testimony meeting. As she listened to the new believers recount their stirring experiences she said she “could not but think how similar is the experience of all true followers of Christ. There is but ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’”—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 162. The church in England was one with the church in her own homeland—in trials and sacrifices. EGWE 41.2

Sunday morning she spoke again, this time on the text Revelation 3:15,“I know thy works.” That evening, August 23, the Town Hall, largest auditorium in the city, had been secured for a public meeting. EGWE 41.3

An estimated 1,200 people had gathered, filling every seat and standing up lining the walls. The “Grimsby United Temperance Prize Choir” had volunteered to provide music. This fifty-voice choir, which had taken second prize at the London Crystal Palace competition the year before, sang seven numbers, three at the beginning, two at the close, and two following the benediction. EGWE 41.4

It was an appreciative audience that listened as Ellen White spoke to them on God's love as shown in nature. She was drawn out toward her audience in the spirit of the true evangelist. She said later: EGWE 41.5

“As I reflected that not until the last great day would I again meet all there assembled, I tried to present the precious things of God in such a way as to draw their minds from earth to heaven. But I could only warn and entreat, and hold up Jesus as the center of attraction, and a heaven of bliss as the eternal reward of the overcomer.”—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 162, 163. EGWE 41.6

Jesus Christ was the central figure in all of Mrs. White's preaching at home and abroad. She could say: EGWE 42.1

“Jesus Christ is everything to us—the first, the last, the best in everything. Jesus Christ, His Spirit, His character, colors everything; it is the warp and the woof, the very texture of our entire being.”—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 389. EGWE 42.2

The address was published the following Friday in the Grimsby News. EGWE 42.3