Jonesboro Seventh-day Adventist Church

A Brief History of Jonesboro, Arkansas

The Work Begins

In the spring and summer of 1902, a colporteur named Arthur R. Songer, worked in the Jonesboro area for two months. Several other colporteurs were working near the area. They would meet back at Songer’s tent to hold Sabbath school and prayer meetings, giving out tracts, loaning books, and giving Bible readings. When Songer left, there were five Sabbath keepers there (Songer, 1902). September 11-22 of that same year, camp meeting was held in Jonesboro (Record, 1902). In 1904, E. L. Manfull brought a group of colporteurs to work in the Jonesboro area (Sommerville, 1904). By December 1904, a new Sabbath school had been organized and was growing (Record, 1904). Tent meetings were held in Jonesboro throughout the years in 1905, 1916, and 1918. In the spring of 1921, David M. Twiggs reported good attendance and interest in a meeting he held near Jonesboro. He began with about twenty-five in attendance the first night, but soon had two and three hundred. Even after he spoke about the Sabbath, Change of the Sabbath, et cetera, the interest still continued (Record, 1921). There was not much commitment, however. Although the little group did not die out, neither did it grow much until 1928.

Jonesboro Church Organized in 1928

Elder R. M. Montgomery held a four-week series of meetings in the summer of 1928 and on Sabbath, October 13, 1928, he organized a church of fifteen members, who were meeting in the Odd Fellows’ hall (Montgomery, 1928). Shortly after this in the fall of 1928, Elder Isaac Baker and his wife moved to Jonesboro and held a week of prayer at both Jonesboro and Searcy. The Jonesboro members met in various members’ homes for the daily meetings. Under Elder Baker’s leadership the church soon completed arrangements for the use of a little brick church building in which to hold Sabbath meetings and Sunday night meetings (Baker, 1929).

Elder R. M. Montgomery ca. 1930

Jonesboro Church Reorganized in 1952

On Sabbath, April 26, 1952, the Jonesboro church was again organized, with twenty-seven charter members (Nichols, 1952).

The Jonesboro church that was organized in 1952. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

A New Church in 1953

In 1953, the Jonesboro members had begun building a church. The basement had been put in and was in use, but they did not have the money to build the rest of the structure. On October 24, 1953, a special conference-wide offering was taken to help complete the church to protect it from the weather. (Sanders, 1953). The Jonesboro church was dedicated on Sabbath, September 5, 1958 (Evans, 1959).

During the 1980s, the church was located at 302 Steele Street in Jonesboro. The school met in the basement of the church (Evaluation, 1980).

A New Church on West Washington Avenue

Jonesboro church on West Washington Avenue in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Elder Stephen Orian.

Citations

(1902, Jun. 23). Southwestern Union Record, p. 7.

(1904, Dec. 5). Ibid., p. 1.

(1921, Mar. 29). Ibid., p. 3.

(1980, Mar. 25). Evaluation of Jonesboro Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.

Baker, Isaac. (1929, Jan. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.

Evans, I. M. (1959, Aug. 26). Ibid., p. 4.

Montgomery, R. M. (1928, Oct. 23). Ibid., p. 2.

Nichols, J. D. (1952, May 28). Ibid., p. 4.

Sanders, F. O. (1953, Oct. 21). Ibid., p. 6.

Sommerville, J. A. (1904, Jul. 4). Ibid., p. 2.

Songer, A. R. (1902, Jun. 23). Ibid., p. 7.