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


The General Conference Session of 1887

The twenty-sixth annual session of the General Conference was held in the Oakland church; it opened on Sunday morning, November 13. Ellen White, residing temporarily in the city, was present for many of the meetings. It was very much of a working conference, with the time divided between reports of the progress of the cause, meetings of the various auxiliary organizations, and the regular sessions of the General Conference. Butler presided. Ellen White wrote to Mary of the session: 3BIO 376.1

We have had a good meeting from the beginning. We have representation of delegates that we are not ashamed of. They do credit to the cause of God west of the Rocky Mountains.—Letter 51c, 1887. 3BIO 376.2

A General Conference Bulletin covered the meeting, the first such report to be issued in connection with such meetings. It reveals that half of each day was given to regular session business; the other half related to the interests of the publishing work, the educational work, Sabbath school work, et cetera. 3BIO 376.3

There were several discussions concerning a missionary boat for the South Pacific. The question of racial color line was introduced, but when it was found that the work of the church in the Southern States could be carried on discreetly without pressing this matter, it was dropped without official record or action. The Sunday law issue, now becoming prominent because of the Blair Sunday bill, [For many years sunday legislation had been on the statute books of several states. Early in 1888, senator H. W. Blair, of New Hampshire, introduced into the united states congress a bill that, if passed, would have enforced in all federal territories the observance of sunday as a day of worship. An amendment to the constitution to that effect had also been proposed. For several years national sunday legislation threatened religious freedom in the United States.] was discussed. Plans were laid for a mass move in securing signatures opposing such legislation by the Congress of the United States. The Foreign Mission Board was pulled together into a stronger organization, and W. C. White was continued as secretary. Careful study was given to the literature program of the church, both production and distribution, and a book committee was created to give guidance in the choice of materials to be processed in the church's publishing houses. 3BIO 376.4

Dr. J. H. Kellogg was present; in addition to giving several addresses on various phases of the medical work, he spoke of the education of nurses. These interests found their way in the departmental meetings. Ellen White was quick to speak to some of the resolutions, urging broad plans. Financial matters called for attention, as did the transfer of laborers from one field to another. All of this was done against a backdrop of reports given each evening concerning the progress of the work of the church. 3BIO 377.1

The last meeting took action recommending those who should receive ministerial credentials. Ellen White's name was among those voted to receive papers of the ordained ministers, although her ordination was not by the laying on of hands by men. The conference session closed on November 27. 3BIO 377.2

The session over, Ellen White finally returned to her Healdsburg home. On December 8, W. C. White wrote to E. R. Palmer in Battle Creek of the situation of the two families: 3BIO 377.3

Mother has gone to Healdsburg to spend the winter and my family are at St. Helena. Mary is not improving as we hoped she would. Our hope is that the Lord will arrest the disease.—A-2 WCW, p. 413. 3BIO 377.4