The Work Begins
In 1902, Elder H. Clay Griffin and Urbanus Bender held a series of meetings in Prairie Grove, ten miles from Lincoln (Record, 1902). In the fall of 1905, Elder Urbanus Bender held tent meetings for six weeks in Lincoln. His wife described them as the “best meetings we ever had,” going on to say that the interest continued to increase all through the meeting, and “from one hundred fifty to five hundred people listened attentively night after night for six weeks” (Bender, 1905a). The last two weeks of the meetings, they added Sabbath school and had an attendance of about forty the first Sabbath and twenty-three the next. The meetings were then moved into the village school house, on account of the cold weather. Eight adults began observing the Sabbath, while others were still deciding. Shortly after moving the meetings to the school house, a Sabbath school was organized (Bender, 1905b). Elder C. J. Dart reported spending October 8 and 9, 1910, with the company in Lincoln (Dart, 1910).
Meetings in 1965 and 1966
In 1965 and 1966, Elder Adrian Woods, pastor of the Fayetteville church, conducted public evangelistic meetings in the Prairie Grove area, near Lincoln. As a result of these meetings, nineteen new members joined the Fayetteville group. The distance between Prairie Grove and Fayetteville, however, made it difficult for the new members to be actively involved in church activities. The idea of establishing a church in the Prairie Grove — Lincoln area was soon formulated (Mattingly, 1975).
Lincoln Church Organized in 1972
In 1971, three laymen, George Ellis, a teacher at the Gentry Elementary School; Ruth Berry, also a teacher at the Gentry Elementary School, and Gerrain Taylor, a building contractor from Gentry, held a series of evangelistic meetings in Lincoln and started conducting a branch Sabbath school at the Presbyterian church in September 1971. Steve Orian, a ministerial student at Southwestern Union College, assisted with these efforts while he was home for the summer. Another series of meetings was held in Prairie Grove by Pastor E. E. Johnson and J. G. Taylor and they culminated in the forming of the new church at Lincoln. On Sabbath, May 13, 1972, the Lincoln church was organized. On the day of the organization twenty-five individuals became charter members of the new Lincoln church (Johnson, 1972) .
A New Church in 1975
Meanwhile, on March 5, 1972, the members began constructing a new church building on Highway 62, just two miles east of Lincoln (Johnson, 1972). Each following Sunday the members headed to the building site to make more progress on the building. Relying only on their own efforts, the building remained debt-free, with the members obtaining personal loans as necessary for building materials. The members began meeting in the partially finished church in October 1972. The church was finally completed and on January 4, 1975, the new church was dedicated debt free (Mattingly, 1975).
(1902, Jun. 2). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.
Bender, Mrs. U. (1905a, Nov. 7). Ibid., p. 2.
Ibid. (1905b, Nov. 14). p. 2.
Dart, C. J. (1910, Oct. 18). Ibid., p. 4.
Johnson, E. E. (1972, Jun. 24). Ibid., pp. 8, 9.
Kostenko, P. A. (1973, Feb. 10). Ibid., p. 6.
Mattingly, Keith. (1975, Apr. 26). Ibid., p. 8.