Booneville Seventh-day Adventist Church

A Brief History of Booneville, Arkansas

The Work Begins

John Ethan Rust in 1908

John Ethan Rust, born in North Danville, Vermont, on March 26, 1829, accepted the third angel’s message in 1865, while convalescing from a wound received during the Civil War. Around 1885, J. E. Rust and his family moved to Arkansas, where he spent a large part of his time distributing literature, giving Bible readings, and Bible studies. His efforts at Booneville aroused sufficient interest to require a minister. Elders Joseph G. Wood and John A. Holbrook responded, and a little company was raised up in Booneville in 1914 (Thweatt, 1915).

Booneville Company grows

Dr. Bruce Facundus in his later years

Many different people helped strengthen the work in Booneville over the years. Mr. and Mrs. Roy Wilkins lived there for a while and left a good impression of the message. Mr. and Mrs. Doyle Martin did much to build up the work and establish a branch Sabbath school in 1948. Fifteen years later, in 1963, Dr. Bruce Facundus opened a medical and surgery practice in Booneville. Later that same year Dr. Facundus’ parents moved from Monroe, Louisiana, to a small farm five miles from Booneville. Their arrival was a real asset to the small Booneville company of five members that had held on through the years under the leadership of Mrs. Maybelle Minich Evans. Soon they were joined by other doctors and their families. Bible studies were begun in members’ homes and the little company grew. Two years later the Booneville company of twelve members had eighteen to thirty attending. They met in a community church five miles out of town on a dusty road and prayed that they might be able to have a church in town so more visitors might attend (Martin, 1965).

Booneville Church Organized in 1967

The group continued to grow and the Booneville company was organized into the Booneville Seventh-day Adventist Church at the Cauthron Community Church building on Sabbath, November 18, 1967, with Elder E. Frank Sherrill, president of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference, officiating (Jameson, 1967).

A New Church

By 1977, it became apparent that a larger facility was needed and the present church was built. The church dedication was held on Sabbath, October 24, 1992, with visitors from Fort Smith and Ozark churches coming to help them celebrate (Record, 1993).

Participants at the Booneville church dedication L to R: Delmer Cook, former pastor; Ray Daniel, conference secretary; William Woodruff, conference president; Jean Stimac, church treasurer; Burnham Rand, pastor; and Kenneth Matthews, head elder. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.
Booneville church on Baldwin Road in Booneville, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Elder Stephen Orian.


(1993, Jan. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 10.

Jameson, J. S. (1967, Oct. 28). Ibid., pp. 9, 10.

Martin, Doyle B. (1965, May 5). Ibid., p. 3.

Thweatt, Mrs. Z. B. (1915, Jan. 14). Review and Herald, p. 22.

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