Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)

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Chapter 28—(1887) Ellen White's Last Year in Europe

Ellen White devoted the winter months in Basel to writing. On some weekends she went to various churches in Switzerland. Christmas Day, 1886, she met with the church in Tramelan. It was a very special occasion—the dedication of the first Seventh-day Adventist house of worship erected in Europe. (At each of the two larger centers, Basel and Christiania, was a sizable meeting hall in the respective publishing houses.) The little chapel at Tramelan was built by the Roth family at a cost of 3,300 francs, [Equivalent to $660 in U.S. Currency in 1886.] and stood just back of the Roth home. Ellen White thought the building to be a little smaller than the first house of worship erected in Battle Creek in 1855, which was eighteen by twenty-four feet in size. 3BIO 359.1

“Here is where the truth first started in Europe,” wrote Ellen White of Tramelan. “Here is where the first church of believers was raised up.”—Letter 34, 1887. She had made the trip by train accompanied by William and Jenny Ings. Snow was heavy on the ground; one of the Roth boys was at the station with a sleigh, giving Ellen White the first sleigh ride she had had in years. The heavy snow, the evergreen trees bowed down with their white mantles, the ride in the sleigh, all reminded her of her girlhood in New England. Vuilleumier and Ertzenberger were at Tramelan for the occasion; Vuilleumier translated for Ellen White, and Ertzenberger spoke at the Sabbath morning worship hour. Visiting church members came in from Chaux-de-Fonds and Bienne. 3BIO 359.2

At the Sabbath afternoon dedication service Ellen White spoke about the Temple Solomon built, and the sacredness that should be observed in a building dedicated to the worship of God. She recalled earlier days of the message in America: 3BIO 360.1

The first house built in Battle Creek was only about one third larger than this, and when we entered that building we felt happy. The meetings heretofore had been held in a private house. We all felt poor, but we felt that we must have a place to dedicate to the Lord.... In two years it had to be given up for a larger one.... It was not long before the third had to be built, and then the present one which will seat three thousand persons.... 3BIO 360.2

We hope that the Lord will so bless your work that this house will prove too small for you. We expect to see other houses erected by our people and in this our faith will be revealed, for faith without works is dead. This house, so small as it is, is recorded in heaven. I can come to visit you with more courage now than heretofore because the people will see that you mean business.—Manuscript 49, 1886. 3BIO 360.3

On Sunday afternoon she met an appointment in the Baptist church in the city, speaking to two or three hundred townspeople. Then she hastened back to Basel and her writing. 3BIO 360.4

She had promised in her dedicatory address that she would come back for more visits to the little church in Tramelan. She fulfilled this promise early in February. She filled appointments Sabbath, February 5, in the church. On Sunday afternoon, by special invitation of the pastor, she spoke again in the national Baptist church, giving a temperance address. Introduced by the pastor, she counted the meeting a success (The Review and Herald, April 5, 1887). 3BIO 360.5