The Work Begins
Tent meetings led by Elders Joseph G. Wood and J. A. Armstrong were held in Yellville in the summer of 1887, but the first known Seventh-day Adventists in the Yellville area were Norman and Martha Hyatt who settled there in the 1960s. Herbert and Elizabeth Kunsman and Stanley joined them in 1974. These Adventists drove to the nearest Adventist church, Mountain Home, to attend worship services. Members from Mountain Home, which was twenty-two miles to the east, helped establish a branch Sabbath school in Yellville in 1978 (Beeler, 1996). Thirty-eight were present for the first meeting (May, 1978).
Yellville Church Organized in 1980
When evangelistic meetings were later held in Mountain Home, the Yellville members took their neighbors and friends and supported the meetings with the result that new converts were made in the Yellville area. John and Margaret McCaddon from Yellville were two of those converted at these evangelistic meetings. For several months this small group of believers met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Kunsman. Elder and Mrs. Carl Holden and Elder and Mrs. Jesse Gibson, retirees, added strength to the growing church. But they had the vision of an organized and established church. These hopes were realized on July 26, 1980, when the conference president, W. H. Elder; and treasurer, B. Page Haskell, led out in the organization of the Yellville Church with eighteen charter members (Gibson, 1981).
A New Church in 1981
The next challenge was a meeting place. Plans were laid and arrangements made for the erection of a suitable church home. In 1979, a lovely hill site overlooking a beautiful valley was donated by Mr. and Mrs. John McCaddon. The Professional and Business Advisory group, a non-profit, fund-raising group in the conference, voted to finance the conference builder, Glenn Payne, for one month to supervise the erection of the church. The construction began in September 1980. Many volunteers, locally as well as from as far away as Mammoth Springs and Gentry, came to help. One day there were eighteen volunteers. With their help the roof trusses were up by 10:30 in the morning. By dark all of the plywood for the roof was on, and they had started to shingle the roof. The structure was built entirely by volunteer labor with the exception of the laying of the cement blocks which was contracted. After Glenn Payne left, the construction was under the direction of Herbert Kunsman, church treasurer, electrician, and builder; and Elder Jesse Gibson. Special thanks was given to two volunteers, James Collins from Gentry, and Kenneth McBride from San Diego, California. These two men, at their own expense, worked full time in the erection of the church. Mr. McBride was a house guest of one of the members, Roma Dent. The new building was large enough to seat forty in the sanctuary and there were adequate Sabbath school rooms (Gibson, 1981). The building was completed in January 1981, and the congregation met for their first worship service on January 10. The Yellville church was dedicated debt-free on June 27, 1981 (Hancock, 1981).
A New Sanctuary
The sanctuary of the church was quite small. The rostrum was so small there was not even room for a chair behind the pulpit. The membership had grown since the church was built so the members added a new sanctuary addition, including a mothers’ room at the back. The new addition seated 110. The former sanctuary became a multipurpose room for classes, board meetings, and community events. The new sanctuary addition was consecrated on April 4, 1987 (Record, 1987).
(1887, Jun. 17). The Mountain Echo, Yellville, AR, p.2.
(1987, May 22). Southwestern Union Record, p. 7.
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. 154.
Gibson, Jesse and Kohler, Clarence. (1981, Feb. 5). Southwestern Union Record, pp. 4, 5.
Hancock, J. Wayne. (1981, Sep. 3). Ibid., pp. 12F, 12G.
Woodruff, William L. (1994, Jul. 1). Ibid., p. 2.