Amity Seventh-day Adventist Church

A Brief History of Amity, Arkansas

The Work Begins


Elder J. W. Norwood

In the fall of 1910, a camp meeting was held at Lucky, eleven miles from the town of Amity. Only a few camped on the grounds, but still the attendance was very good every evening, and on Sabbaths and Sundays. Though the people of this neighborhood were in the middle of their cotton harvest, they still attended the services and paid good attention to the messages. The laborers present were Elders Eastman, Norwood, Watts, and Watson. The people expressed themselves as being “well pleased” with the camp meeting. Sabbath, October 9, ten people were added to the Lucky Church, seven of these by baptism (Watson, 1910).

Amity Company Organized in 1982

In 1981, a group of Seventh-day Adventists began meeting in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Chester Clark.  The group was organized as a company in 1984 by the late Elder Don Schneider, then President of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference (Minutes, 1984). When Ouachita Hills Academy was founded in 1988, the church had outgrown the Clark’s living room and moved into the mobile home used for classrooms. At times there were forty to sixty people crowded into that facility (Clark, 2019).  

Amity Church Organized in 1989

On February 28, 1989, it was voted to organize the Amity company as a church with about twenty-five members. The organization took place sometime between March and May of that year (Minutes, 1989). A temporary church structure was built in 1991 with plans to move it to a more permanent location.  It could seat 110 people but was pretty crowded when eighty people came to worship. Even though Ouachita Hills Academy (OHA) found a permanent campus location five miles out of town in 1994, the church was never moved and continued to serve the community and OHA needs until May 2019 (Clark, 2019).

The temporary structure used by the Amity church from 1991 to 2019. Photo courtesy of Chester Clark.

A New Church in 2019

After years of dreaming of a more representative and useful structure for the Amity church, in 2012 property was purchased on Highway 8, a few blocks from the town square. Then in September 2014, a Maranatha Volunteers project came to Amity and erected the structure for a new church. Many other volunteers and church work bees since then brought it to near completion (Clark, 2019). In spite of the fact that the progress was slow, more than ten people were baptized in the fully functional baptistry amidst sheetrock dust and the smell of new paint (Neall, 2017). The church began worshiping in the new church in May 2019, with the sanctuary and classroom wings completed. The fellowship hall is expected to be completed and usable by mid 2020 (Clark, 2019).

Construction of the Amity church in October 2014. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

During the years of 1992 to 2019, the Amity church used the Amity City Hall for evangelistic meetings, health education programs, and community services. The new church has nearly 12,000 square feet and will have seating for 230. The church is anxious to use their own facility to reach out in Christ-like service to those in need (Clark, 2019). 

Photo courtesy of Elder Stephen Orian.
Amity Church on Crawford Wilson Road in Amity, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Chester Clark.

Citations

(1907, Aug. 13). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.

(1984, Aug. 30). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.

(1989, Feb. 28). Ibid.

(1989, Jun. 15). Ibid.

Clark, Chester. (2019, Aug. 17). Email from Chester Clark.

Griffin, H. Clay. (1906, Nov. 13). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.

McCoy, Ava L. (1907, Feb. 26). Ibid., p. 2.

Ibid. (1910, Oct. 11). p. 4.

Watson, G. F. (1910, Oct. 25). Ibid., p. 5.