In the 1930s, the church’s work was suffering from severe reductions in tithe and other income brought about by the Great Depression. The 1931 Fall Council of the General Conference Committee that met in Omaha, Nebraska, suggested extensive administrative and territorial changes in several unions across the United States. These changes reduced the number of Union conferences in North America from twelve to eight and the number of local conferences from fifty-eight to forty-eight (Record, 1932). It was at this time that Louisiana and its members and churches were transferred to the Southwestern Union Conference and joined Arkansas on February 23, 1932 (Ruf, 1932). Leaders in the Southern Union had visited about eighty-five percent of the Louisiana members, explaining the change to them. Although the members said they were willing to accept it, the change was still very difficult for them (Review, 1932). Elder R. P. Montgomery who was the Arkansas Conference president was designated president of the new organization until he took a call to Texico in June 1932, and Elder W. H. Heckman was called to take his place. Elder Heckman presided over the process of making the two states into one conference. In the new Arkansas-Louisiana Conference there were thirty-three churches, with 2,078 members, nine ordained ministers, three licentiates, eighteen teachers, and eleven colporteurs (Yearbook, 1933).
Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Rally Song
(1932, Mar. 2). Southwestern Union Record, pp. 1-4, 9, 12, 14-20.
(1932, Apr. 7). Review and Herald, p. 17.
(1933) Yearbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination. Washington, D. C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.
Hartwell, Mrs. H. C. (1936, Feb. 19). Southwestern Union Record, p. 3.
Ruf, A. F. (1932, Feb. 24). Ibid., p. 2.