Decatur Seventh-day Adventist Church

A Brief History of Decatur, Arkansas

Decatur Church Organized in 1905

Elder Volney B. Watts ca. 1908

A local camp meeting was held in the summer of 1904 in Decatur and on October 14, 1904, a Sabbath school was organized with eleven members. By 1905, they had a group of twenty-five members and were very active, holding Missionary Conventions, Weeks of Prayer, Religious Liberty meetings, Christmas programs, and Children’s Day events (Moore, 1905). Elder Volney Brockway Watts organized the Decatur church on March 18, 1905. In the summer of 1907 the first services were held in a new church built on a lot donated by a new member, Mrs. Terrell. Except for a brief period, when the elderly member’s health prevented it, services continued weekly at that location until June 1983, when the first Sabbath services were held in a beautiful new church at Corner Spring (Thomas, 1984).

Decatur Church Reorganized in 1927

Over time the Decatur congregation dwindled in number until they were back to meeting only as a Sabbath school. On Monday, March 21, 1927, Elders R. P. Montgomery and K. R. Haughey visited Decatur and organized their Sabbath school into a full-fledged church. By this time their church needed repairs and the ladies had earned enough money by making and selling needlework to put a new roof on the building. In addition they had twenty-seven dollars on hand to be used toward fixing up the interior of the church (Haughey, 1927).

Decatur Church Reorganized in 1966

Newly remodeled and reorganized Decatur Church in 1966. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

The Decatur church was disbanded in 1961 because the membership was too small to support a church, but a few members began working in the area to build up the church again (Minutes, 1960). During 1965, the members thoroughly remodeled their church at Corner Spring, giving it new flooring, redecorating, updating the rostrum, paneling, restrooms, and parking lot. On Sabbath afternoon, January 15, 1966, the renovated sanctuary was rededicated. At the same service about forty members were organized into the Decatur church (Colvin, 1966).

A New Church in 1983

Inside the new Decatur church with Pastor Edmond Klute speaking. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

In 1983, the Corner Spring property was sold. The property on Roller Avenue which was purchased for a new church included a house which served as the church school. On May 27, 1983, the end of the first school year was marked by the eighth grade graduation service, which was the first meeting held in the new church. On June 18, 1983, the first official Sabbath services were held in the beautiful new building (Thomas, 1983). On Sabbath, October 15, 1983, several hundred guests gathered with the Decatur church members for the dedication of the new church on Roller Avenue. The structure was completed in just over a year. Nearly all labor on the building was done by local members with some assistance from members of area churches (Thomas, 1984).

The Decatur church on Roller Avenue in Decatur, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of the Decatur church.

Citations

(1960, Dec. 6). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.

Colvin, G. F. (1966, Feb. 16). Southwestern Union Record, p. 8.

Haughey, Mrs. K. R. (1927, Apr 12). Ibid., p. 2.

Moore, Mary H. (1905, Nov. 7). Ibid., p. 2.

Thomas, Jane. (1983, Sep. 1). Ibid., p. 12E.

Ibid. (1984, Mar. 1). p. 12F.