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


Chapter 10—(1879) Surging to a High Point in Ministry

Unlike other years when the heavy round of camp meetings left James and Ellen White almost completely exhausted and debilitated, labor in the camp meetings they attended in 1879 seemed to energize them for a broadening outreach. This is seen in the comprehensive plans in which they had a part in formulating for the annual session of the General Conference to come in early November, together with its accompanying meetings of the various auxiliary organizations. 3BIO 121.1

In James White's absence the regular General Conference session had been scheduled for a time other than the general camp meeting in Michigan, with its large attendance. The reason given for the change was that some felt that the conference business detracted from the spiritual meetings. White did not disguise his unhappiness at this. He saw the large attendance at collective meetings as vital to a vibrant thrust of the denomination. He explained: 3BIO 121.2

As our people and our work are practical, all the friends of the cause should be encouraged to take a lively interest in all branches of the work discussed at our business meetings. Our general meetings should therefore be held at such places, and at such times, as will secure general attendance.... 3BIO 121.3

However much we may regret that the old plan, proved to be successful in the days of our prosperity, is exchanged this year by those who desire the benefits of a new experience, it is very probable that experience may convince them that changes are not always improvements.—Ibid., October 16, 1879 3BIO 121.4

But he had another proposal, to serve somewhat as a remedy: 3BIO 122.1

We have urged the necessity of a Biblical institute, to be held with the series of meetings on the occasion of the General Conference and the several society meetings, as the means of calling together at Battle Creek many of our ministers and those who have the ministry in view.—Ibid.

The Bible institute would open on October 22, the General Conference session on November 7. Meetings would be held in the Tabernacle. 3BIO 122.2