A Brief History of Ozark, Arkansas
The Work Begins
From September 9 to October 17, 1897, Elder John A. Holbrook held tent meetings in Ozark. At the end of the meetings twenty people had begun keeping the Sabbath. Elder H. Clay Griffin moved to Ozark to canvass that fall and meet with the little group on Sabbaths. During the winter he held Bible readings and continued the Sabbath services (Holbrook, 1897).
Plans for a New Church
A small group of church members began meeting in a private home in October 1974 (Beeler, 1996). In the summer of 1978, George Ellis, a teacher at the Gentry Elementary school, worked in the Ozark area holding evangelistic meetings, adding a few members to the small company (Record, 1978). In the fall of 1977, the members at Ozark were organized into a company (Minutes, 1977). The members hoped to have a larger meeting place and on August 29, 1978, the Ozark members arrived on a bleak and rainy day for the ground-breaking ceremonies of their new church. Elder Roger Rustad showed the fifteen members who had gathered there, the blueprints of their new church. After a brief message from Elder Rustad the members walked through the rain for the ground-breaking. The site for the church and a large share of the building funds were donated by a member of the company, Roy McKee. His dream through the years had been for a church building in the community to serve the needs of the company. He had recently sold some of his property but reserved an acre upon which to build this church (Rustad, 1978).
Ozark Church Organized in 1980
The Ozark church was organized with twenty-three members on May 3, 1980, by W. H. Elder and B. Page Haskell (Beeler, 1996). In December 1998, it was voted for the Ozark church to sell their old church and purchase an existing church facility (Minutes, 1998). After meeting for years in a church that was too small, it was with great pleasure that the Ozark church congregation met in their new church facility on August 14, 1999. This marked the culmination of several months of hard work to remodel and refurbish the building (Fowler, 1999).
A New Church
In 2005, the Ozark church property was sold and plans were once again made for a new facility. In 2019 the Ozark church was finished and paid for but they had not had a dedication service. A special program was planned and when Elder Richard Dye, the conference president, was scheduled to speak June 29, 2019, the Sabbath sermon included a special note-burning ceremony (Record, 2019).
Photo courtesy of LaVonne Dye.
(1977, Aug. 14). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1978, Aug. 10). Southwestern Union Record, p. 12B.
(1998, Dec. 10). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(2019, Sep. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 22.
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. 150.
Holbrook, J. A. (1897, Nov. 9). Review and Herald, p. 13.
Fowler, Les. (1999, Nov. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 13.
Rustad, Jewelratta. (1978, Oct. 5). Ibid., p. 16G.