A Brief History of Bogalusa, Louisiana
The Work Begins
In 1951, the Hammond church began working in the dark parish* around Bogalusa. Elder D. H. Miller wrote that, “Sabbath afternoon we worked in dark Bogalusa for a few hours. The results were way beyond our expectations. [We had f]ive requests for Bible studies and ten requests for the correspondence courses. I am planning to work a few more afternoons and then invite the interests into a hall in the Y. W. C. A. for studies” (Miller, 1951).
Bogalusa Church Organized in 1971
Jim Griffin, the pastor of the Hammond church, held evangelistic meetings in Bogalusa in 1970. At the end of these meetings the small group rented and then purchased a church building in which to hold Sabbath services. Elder Alvin Wilson was called to Bogalusa as a pastor-colporteur (Oster, 1996). The Bogalusa church was organized on March 13, 1971, with twenty-one charter members (Wilson, 1971a; cf. Minutes, 1971). Four months later they held their first Vacation Bible School with fourteen children in attendance (Wilson, 1971b).
A New Church
In 1982, when the church building was sold, the proceeds were sufficient to pay off the mortgage and buy another building on three-fourths of an acre. This building, which had first been a motel, was later modified into a private residence and business place to house a liquor store, a beauty salon, and a real estate office. The little congregation made further modifications, enabling the building to be used as a church. This served well until it became evident that it needed extensive repairs. A friend in another state heard of the need and contributed enough funds to renovate the entire building. The sanctuary was enlarged, a new entryway was added, new floor coverings were installed and much more. The building looked completely different and was completed in time for their twenty-fifth anniversary in 1996. In researching the history of the church it was discovered that the church had never been dedicated so on March 9, 1996, the church celebrated both their anniversary and their dedication, led by Art Nelson, the conference treasurer (Oster, 1996).
Donation of Land
The Bogalusa church suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Later that year seventy-one acres of land were donated to the Bogalusa church. The land could be used for Pathfinder camporees or some could be sold to benefit the church (Minutes, 2005).
*A dark parish was an area where no active Adventist work was being done.
(1971, Feb. 16). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(2005, Dec. 1). Ibid.
Miller, D. H. (1951, Nov. 18). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.
Oster, Jerry. (1996, Jul. 1). Ibid., pp. 18, 19.
Wilson, Alice B. (1971a, Apr. 10). Ibid., p. 9.
(1971b, Sep. 25). Ibid., pp. 5, 6.