New Orleans Black Seventh-day Adventist Churches

A Brief History of New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Ephesus Church Organized in 1892

Charles M. Kinny traveled from St. Louis to New Orleans, arriving in October 1891. He soon met six Seventh-day Adventists — Elvenia C. Bolds, Mr. and Mrs. Schemel, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Smoot, and John Williams who had been converted by a faithful colporteur working in the New Orleans area in the 1890s (Record, 2001). These six Adventists and other new believers were organized into a company on June 4, 1892. This was the first black church in our conference (Encyclopedia, 1966). Charles Kinny reported the newly founded church as the fourth black church in the denomination. This church, known as New Orleans church No. 2, began meeting in houses on Margeno and Chestnut Streets but moved several times. By 1913, they had seventy members and had started raising funds for a church of their own. In 1914, they completed the new church and met in it for the first time on Sunday night, September 13, 1914. The Southern Union Conference donated new opera seats for the church (Buckner, 1915).

The New Orleans Ephesus church on Delachaise Street. In 1919, the school was moved from the conference office to the church (Yearbook, 1920).

Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

In 1918, an evangelist, J. H. Lawrence, held a tent effort in New Orleans which resulted in fifty new members being baptized in the Mississippi River. With the growth of the congregation, a church was established on Delachaise Street (Record, 2001) which became known as the Ephesus church (Lister, 1994). By the end of 1936, the Ephesus church had 298 members and were looking for a larger place of worship (Dasent, 1937).

Below: Two of charter member Elvenia Bolds’ children, Henry and Brenda.

Henry Bolds
Brenda Bolds Delpeach

New Orleans Berean Church Organized in 1929

As a result of meetings by Elder Fred S. Keitts in 1928 and 1929, a second black church was organized in New Orleans on August 10, 1929. Elder Keitts baptized twenty-seven new members and organized a church of thirty-five members with more to be baptized later (Worker, 1929). This became known as the Berean church (Beeler, 1996). Their church was dedicated on November 5, 1932 (Record, 1932).


(1920). Yearbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination. Washington, D. C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

(1929, Aug. 21). Southern Union Worker, p. 2.

(1932, Nov. 9). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.

(1966). Regional Department and Conferences. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Washington D. C.: Review and Herald, pp. 1058-1063.

(2001, May 1). Southwestern Union Record, pp. 4, 5.

Baker, Benjamin. (2010). Charles Kinny (1855-1951). Retrieved from

Beeler, Charles R. (1996). A History of Seventh-day Adventists in Arkansas and Louisiana 1888-1996. Keene: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, p. 105.

Buckner, T. B. (1915, Mar. 18). Southern Union Worker, p. 87.

Dasent, J. G. (1937, Feb. 3). Southwestern Union Record, p. 3.

Lister, Robert (1994, May 1). Ibid., p. 2.

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