Battle Creek Tabernacle

Battle Creek | MI
A History of Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Battle Creek
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A History of Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Battle Creek

The work in Battle Creek, Michigan began in 1852 when Joseph Bates came from Jackson to Battle Creek after having a dream about sailing into a port called Battle Creek. The City of Battle Creek was a small town of less than 200 people. Upon arriving Bates asked the postmaster to direct him to the most honest man in town. He was directed to David Hewitt's house where he was warmly received. Soon after Bates shared with him, Hewitt became the first and only Sabbath-keeping Adventist in Battle Creek.
The first worship service in Battle Creek was conducted by J.N. Loughborough in 1853, when a group of eight people came together to study and worship in David Hewitt's house. He returned a few weeks later and met with the believers again on June 6, 1853, and at this time the house was about half full. The Whites also attended the meeting and James White remarked that, "If the brethren and sisters are faithful, there may be quite a church in Battle Creek."
In the fall of 1853, J.B.Frisbie, a traveling Methodist minister whom Joseph Bates had met and convicted regarding the truths of of the Sabbath, moved from Chelsea to Battle Creek and bought a piece of property located on the northwest corner of Van Buren and Cass streets. In June of 1854, J.N. Loughborough and M.E. Cornell held the first tent meeting when they held meetings on the corner of Van Buren Street (where the Enquirer newspaper offices now stand)  Then in 1855 the most significant development came when the Whites decided to accept an invitation to move the Review and Herald press and offices to a permanent home in Battle Creek.

The First Church
(Fall 1855 - November 1857)

In the fall of  1855, the first Seventh-day Adventist church was built on the north side of Frisbie's property between Van Buren and Champion , but closer to Van Buren. It faces Cass street and was a 18 x 24-foot building with 10 foot ceilings, built at a cost of $300,with comfortable seating for about 40. Called "The House of Prayer" by the early believers, it was  built of upright board and batten siding "with no inside finish except the floor."  Believers in Battle Creek were poor and Ellen White states that "it took quite an effort to erect the building."
The first congregation numbered about 42 with twelve of those being individuals who had come from Rochester, New York, with the Review and Herald. Many of those names are familiar to Adventist everywhere and to most of the settlers of Battle Creek. They include names such as James and Ellen White, G.W.Amadon, Uriah Smith, J.W.Bacheller, David Hewitt, Jonah R. Lewis, Elder J.B. Frisbie, Cyrenius Smith, J.F. Byington, Stephen Belden, and Henry Lyon among others.
When no longer in use, this church later became a wing of a house on the corner and was torn down in 1892.