Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Chapter 15—(1894) The Ashfield Camp Meeting in New South Wales

So Successful had been the camp meeting held in the Melbourne suburb of Middle Brighton in early January that there was enthusiastic anticipation of a repeat performance in Sydney later in the year. G. B. Starr and Ellen G. White and her staff of workers had journeyed north from Melbourne in late March and, as noted, had very soon been drawn into following up interests in Sydney suburbs. Granville, with easy access to Sydney and a number of rail connections, had become somewhat of a center of evangelistic operations. But all eyes were on the coming camp meeting and the annual session of the Australian Conference that would accompany it in late October. 4BIO 162.1

The Sydney church, with eighty-five members, suffered somewhat from adverse and critical members. The Parramatta church, with a membership of ninety, had its own meetinghouse, one of the first in Australia, but was heavily in debt. At Kellyville there was a small but neat and debt-free meetinghouse, serving a church of twenty-four. 4BIO 162.2

The evangelistic meetings held in a tent at Seven Hills resulted in a congregation of forty, including children. As winter came on, they decided to build a simple, neat church to cost about $300. All members and ministerial workers contributed to this, and Ellen White gave liberally to make the building possible. She insisted, and all agreed, that it should be erected without debt. The elected building committee did good work, securing favorable concessions in purchasing materials, and getting donated labor from the members. (Letter 44, 1894). 4BIO 162.3

Sabbath and Sunday, September 15 and 16, were high days for this new church. Elder McCullagh explained why in an article in the Bible Echo: 4BIO 163.1

On Sabbath, September 15, we organized the church, with one elder, two deacons, and a clerk as officers. The blessing of God attended the word spoken, and all felt assured that the Lord set His seal to the work by the presence of His Holy Spirit. 4BIO 163.2

On Sunday the dedicatory services took place. In the morning Dr. Kellogg preached, presenting some practical truths to the edification of all. In the afternoon the special service of the day was held. Mrs. E. G. White spoke to a crowded house, with great energy and freedom. The word spoken was precious.—October 1, 1894. 4BIO 163.3

With a warm heart overflowing with joy and thankfulness Mrs. White looked on the earnest little flock as “babes in Christ.” She wrote: 4BIO 163.4

If there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth, we know that there is joy over these twenty precious souls who, one after another, have had the moral courage to decide to obey the truth. Now this little flock are babes in Christ, and need to be taught and led along, step by step, into faith and assurance; they need to be educated and trained to do the work of soldiers in the army of the Lord, and to bear hardness, that is, trials and oppositions, contempt and scorn, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.—Letter 44, 1894. 4BIO 163.5

That very week she received from an energetic and successful literature evangelist in California, Walter Harper, a gift of $1,000 to aid in the work in Australia. She had written to him in July, a man with whom she was well acquainted, telling of the development of the work in what she termed “this region beyond.” She pointed out that meetinghouses must be erected, a college founded, assistance must be given to students unable to meet school expenses, and Adventist families, destitute because of Sabbathkeeping, must be helped. She specifically mentioned that “a church must be built at Seven Hills, and we must have means.” She asked, “If in the providence of God you have means, will you help the truth to advance in this country?”—Letter 30a, 1894. 4BIO 163.6

This he did, and in her letter expressing her gratitude for the liberal gift she wrote: 4BIO 164.1

If the Lord has made you a successful canvasser, and by this means you can not only obtain your livelihood but at the same time impart light to others, you have much for which to be thankful. I am thankful you are trading on your Lord's goods, and putting out your money to usury, in order that you may double your entrusted talent.—Letter 31, 1894. 4BIO 164.2