A Brief History of West Monroe, Louisiana
The Monroe Church Organized in 1938
In 1934, Elder Ira C. Pound held meetings in Monroe at the corner of Ouachita and South Third Streets. As a result of these meetings there were eleven baptisms. The group continued to grow in membership and as a result, a new company of believers was organized in January 1935 (Record, 1935). The following June, meetings were held almost in the heart of town. This was the first experience using an open-air dome in this part of the country. The walled, topless enclosure seemed to work well in the north, but here, inclement weather threatened the meetings. In spite of this the attendance held up (Lambeth, 1935). Three years later Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey were sent to the district. The membership continued to grow and as a result, on November 26, 1938, Elder Pound organized the Monroe company into a church of twenty-one members (Record, 1938).
A New Church in 1946
The members met in a Lodge Hall, and later they purchased a residence on South Second Street which housed the church as well as provided a parsonage for the pastor. The church soon outgrew this small building and in 1945-1946 they erected a building on the corner of South Second and Plum Streets, where they worshiped until 1958 (Larson, 1958). In 1945, Elder R. E. Delafield stated that, “This church will be one of the most beautiful places of worship in our entire conference when completed” (Delafield, 1945). The church was dedicated in February 1947 (Wells, 1947).
How Long Does It Take to Paint a Church?
In 1949, the Monroe church was badly in need of a new paint job. A. A. Perkins, the deacon, considered how the church could receive its new look. He happened to be a painter himself, but it would take him a long time in his spare time. He prayed about the matter and the Lord impressed him to talk to his employer, who was the president of the Keystone Paint and Decorating Company. In the interview with his employer, he was given instructions to buy the paint at dealers price and the company would furnish all the equipment and even the painters to do the work. One Sunday morning the painters came to clean the church and put on the prime coat. The next Sunday the group of men again came and put on the final coat. This took only two hours and twenty minutes. Many of these men were members of other churches but they were all willing to donate their time to paint the Seventh-day Adventist church on Sunday morning (Olson, 1949).
A New Church in 1958
The building was sold in 1957, and the church congregation met for a while in the Southside Methodist church in Monroe. In January 1958, work was begun on a new church on a spacious lot in the Broadmoor Addition at the corner of Oaklawn and Sandel Drive (Jameson, 1958). The first meeting was held in this building on June 7, 1958. The pink brick church consisted of a sanctuary with a seating capacity of 200, three large classrooms, a large mothers’ room at the back of the sanctuary that could be opened for larger seating capacity, two restrooms, a large fellowship hall, and a pastor’s study. Five years after the consecration service in the new church, the church was dedicated, free of debt, on December 7, 1963 (Rossier, 1964).
A New Church in 1990
In 1986, the congregation purchased about six acres of land near I-20 on the west side of West Monroe (Minutes, 1986). The church was constructed and renamed and consecration services for the Westlakes church were held on November 30, 1991. This was the highlight of the year for the members. Even though it was a holiday weekend more than 130 people attended the special service (Horne, 1992). The Westlakes church was dedicated on November 15, 1997 (Minutes, 1997).
(1935, Jan. 30). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.
(1938, Dec. 7). Ibid., p. 5.
(1986, Apr. 24). Minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Conference Association. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1997, Oct. 15). Minutes of the Officers Meeting. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
Delafield, R. E. (1945, Dec. 12). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.
Horne, Nola. (1992, Feb. 1). Ibid., p. 15.
Jameson, J. S. (1958, Mar. 5). Ibid., p. 8.
Lambeth, Cecil. (1935, Jun. 26). Ibid., p. 3.
Larson, W. G. (1958, Jun. 25). Ibid., p. 4.
Olson, Boyd E. (1949, Oct. 26). Ibid., p. 1.
Rossier, M. H. (1964, Jan. 22). Ibid., pp. 6, 7.
Wells, Frank D. (1947, Mar. 5). Ibid., p. 2.