Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)


Chapter 28—(1874) Publishing and Preaching in Oakland

James White had a double interest in moving to Oakland in late April. For some time he had hoped to publish a weekly paper in conjunction with public evangelism. And as Ellen White wrote to Smith, he was already deeply involved. 2BIO 414.1

We think now of starting a paper in Oakland in connection with the tent. My husband thinks a weekly paper could be published with no more expense than at Battle Creek.... It is indeed a great venture to start in at Oakland. This city is indeed a paradise of beauty. The wealthy of San Francisco have made their homes here, while they attend to their business in San Francisco.—Letter 25, 1874. 2BIO 414.2

In a postscript she declared, “My husband is of good courage. When he sees the work moving he feels happy. Today he is over the Bay in San Francisco.”—Ibid. “Father is getting real smart,” she wrote to Willie on May 11. “He is cheerful and of good courage. The printers are at work upon the first number of Signs of the Times. We feel that it is in the order of God.” And she added in words which furnish a clue to their thinking, “We wish you were here.... What would you think if we should send for you shortly?”—Letter 26, 1874. 2BIO 414.3

The new journal was not to come from the press until June 4. In the meantime, most encouraging progress was being made with the tent meeting. In late May James White reported to the readers of the Review: 2BIO 414.4

The providence of God ...has brought the California tent to this wealthy, proud city, which is the seat of the State university, theological, military, and many other schools. And while the transition [from limited to broad plans] was going on, we took the ground that the advertising, and seizing every opportunity to arrest the attention of the people, must be proportionate to the difficulties in the way, and the importance of the subjects to be presented. 2BIO 415.1

The tent meeting was therefore noticed in three papers daily, large posters, small bills to be scattered, bulletin boards, and in large letters on canvas at the side of the tent. These efforts have secured a good attendance.... 2BIO 415.2

The prophets of God, and the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, talked and acted in a manner to give the impression that they, at least, thought that their work was of the greatest importance of any going on under the heavens.—The Review and Herald, June 2, 1874. 2BIO 415.3

Earnest labors and good publicity brought good results. Within a few days one of the Oakland dailies reported: 2BIO 415.4

The tent meeting at the corner of Broadway and Thirteenth streets continues to draw large audiences, and, by special request, the managers have decided to remain at least one more week.—In Ibid., June 2, 1874 2BIO 415.5

In writing to Willie at about the same time, Ellen White reported: 2BIO 415.6

The tent meeting in Oakland is a success. We had good attendance Sunday [May 10]. I speak to the people every Sunday afternoon. There is great interest in Oakland among a certain class. They are steady hearers. The interest is not sensational, not flashy, but calm, steadily on the increase.—Letter 26, 1874.

Two weeks later she wrote that her husband, in addition to getting out the first number of the Signs of the Times, was issuing a little paper almost daily. Titled The Tent Meeting, it advertised the lectures and contained a synopsis of the matter presented (Letter 28, 1874, and The Review and Herald, June 2, 1874). She reported that “we have out the best class of society, and as yet we have no opposition. The first ministers of the place came out to hear. The mayor has been several times and encourages us all he can.”—Letter 28, 1874. 2BIO 415.7