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


The New Church Is Dedicated

Ellen White was to speak in the chapel at the school on Sabbath afternoon, the day before the dedication service. There were many visitors at Cooranbong, for the church dedication and for the closing exercises of the school on Sunday evening. The school chapel was totally inadequate, and so her meeting was held in the new church—the very first. Sunday, October 17, was a beautiful day, and in the afternoon all gathered in the church for the service of dedication. Ellen White describes it: 4BIO 320.5

Every seat was occupied, and some were standing at the door. Between two and three hundred were present. Quite a number came from Melbourne and also from Sydney, and from the neighborhood, far and nigh. 4BIO 321.1

Elder Haskell gave the dedicatory discourse. Seated on the platform where the pulpit stands were Elder Daniells, Farnsworth, Haskell, Hughes, Wilson, Robinson, and your mother, whom they insisted should make the dedicatory prayer. Herbert Lacey conducted the singing, and everything passed off in the very best order. We felt indeed that the Lord Jesus was in our midst as we presented our chapel to God and supplicated that His blessing should constantly rest upon it. 4BIO 321.2

And we have not heard one word of criticism. All are surprised at such a house built in so short a time, and so nice and tasty and presentable.—Letter 162, 1897. 4BIO 321.3

The Bible Echo, in reporting the dedication, described the building as situated on the school land near the Maitland Road and three quarters of a mile from the school buildings, built of wood, well constructed, neatly painted, and presenting a very nice appearance. 4BIO 321.4

The land for the church was donated by the school. The building itself cost only about £550 and is capable of accommodating 450 persons. And one of the best features connected with the whole enterprise is that it was dedicated free from debt, every penny's expense having been provided for beforehand. So there was no collection called for on this occasion to clear the church from debt.—The Bible Echo, November 8, 1897. 4BIO 321.5

One feature of the developing enterprises at Cooranbong was the determination to avoid debt, even though the work was at times slowed, and all concerned had to sacrifice and deprive themselves of ordinary comforts and needs. Earlier in the year Ellen White had commented: 4BIO 321.6

There is no necessity for our meetinghouses to continue year after year in debt. If every member of the church will do his duty, practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice for the Lord Jesus, whose purchased possession he is, that His church may be free from debt, he will do honor to God.—Letter 52, 1897. 4BIO 322.1

The last paragraph of the November 8 Bible Echo report of the dedication significantly declares: 4BIO 322.2

In conclusion, it should be stated that the erection of this building at this early stage of the school enterprise is mainly due to the faith and energy of Pastor S. N. Haskell and Mrs. E. G. White, and the rich blessings of God on their efforts. But for them, the building would perhaps not have been built for some time yet. With but £100 in sight, they moved out by faith and began to build, and the results are as already stated. 4BIO 322.3

But of special significance to Ellen White was the fact that in this new start in Christian education, not only was it a success, but was, as she observed, “the best school in every respect that we have ever seen, outside our people, or among Seventh-day Adventists.”—Letter 101, 1897. And: 4BIO 322.4

Twenty of the students have been baptized, and some came to the school who had not an experimental knowledge of what it means to be Christians; but not one student leaves the school but gives evidence of now knowing what it means to be children of God.—Letter 162, 1897. 4BIO 322.5