History of West End SDA Church
The history of the West End Seventh-day Adventist Church extends back to 1983 under the leadership of Conference President Elder Ralph B. Hairston. Elder Joseph Hinson, served as Conference Evangelist and Personal Ministries Director. The late Elder Walter Hawk, issued a challenge to President Ralph B. Hairston to bring a revival to the inner city of Atlanta. It was during this time that Elder Hinson was extremely instrumental in securing Evangelist Oscar Lane during the planning stages for the proposed City Wide Revival. President Ralph B. Hairston issued the challenge to Evangelist Oscar Lane, Jr. of Los Angeles, California to conduct a tent meeting in Southwest Atlanta.
The meetings began on July 4, 1983 and were held under the “BIG RED TENT” on the corner of Lee and Oglethorpe Streets. Evangelist Lane delivered the word of God nightly. God greatly blessed this effort with 1,353 souls. Seven hundred of those 1,353 baptized were new converts. Members from other Seventh-day Adventist Churches joined together with these new believers and formed what we know today as the West End SDA Church.
The first meeting of the newly organized group was held at the West Hunter Street Baptist Church on August 20, 1983. Still in search of a home, the young church was permitted to hold services in the Brown High School Auditorium on Peoples Street.
The first Pastor to serve the new church was Pastor F.W. Parker who as assisted by the late Pastor C.D. Henri, Pastor C.L. Humphrey and Pastor Carl Nesmith. Supporting this team of ministers were Arvella Hadley and the late Elizabeth Rice as Bible Workers. Brother Joe Houston served as Head Elder and the late Ferman Watson served as Head Deacon.
In July of 1984 after the departure of Pastor Fred W. Parker, the church continued to achieve new heights of spiritual, social, and educational accomplishments under the youthful, dynamic leadership of Pastor Ernest B. Young, who came from the Southeastern Conference. Seeing the need for a permanent church home, Pastor Ernest B Young immediately set about to secure property in Southwest Atlanta for the construction of church building.
On March 31, 1985, Pastor Ernest B. Young called the congregation together to begin building the house of the Lord. A ground-breaking ceremony was conducted. Special guests were officers of the South Atlantic Conference, Mr. George Mercurius the Architect, and Mr. Tom Cuffie, Councilmen of the West End District. The building project manager was Brother Sam Cort from 1985 to 1987 and Brother Jonathan Walker became project manager in October 1987 to completion. Estimated cost of the lot was $120,000 and the total cost of the edifice was 1.7 million dollars.
The spring of 1985 again found Evangelist Oscar Lane conducting a crusade at the Lakewood Fair Grounds and 143 precious souls were added to the church. In the summer of the same year, Pastor Young launched another Crusade and the Lord blessed his ministry with 105 souls.
Pastor Gabe H. Taylor came to serve as Associate Pastor during the same summer and served us until 1989. From 1985-1987 West End was assigned its first Youth Pastor, Pastor Malcolm White. In 1987 Pastor C.L. Watkins, Conference Evangelist conducted a summer crusade which resulted in 112 baptized souls. We continued to grow during our lock-out experience. The Church members walked to the open church lot and held services on the old stones and never returned to Brown High School Auditorium again. Pastor Young held a four-week tent crusade on the church site in the summer of 1988, which resulted in 43 baptized souls.
The church continued to meet in the tent following the crusade with hopes of transferring to the new edifice before the winter. When it was apparent that completion of the church would not meet its winter deadline, the church was forced to seek other accommodations for the winter. The Pastor and members of the Second Mount Olive Baptist Church graciously opened the doors the doors of their church to us so the church members could be sheltered from the cold.
In spring of 1989 our church edifice was completed and on May 13th we celebrated the Grand Opening of the new West End SDA Church. Pastor Young gathered the congregation together for the dedication of our new church home. Elder Young served West End from 1984 to 1990.
In January 1991, Pastor Earl W. Moore came to serve the West End SDA Church. Pastor Moore held many Revelation Seminars and many souls were baptized. Under the leadership of Pastor Earl W. Moore the fellowship hall was completed. Also, the following ministers served as Associate Pastors: Pastor R.L. Woodfolk, Pastor R.E. Tottress 1993-95, Pastor Eugene Mason and Youth Pastor Mason West III 1995-96. Youth Pastor Mason West III conducted a two-week revival before his departure in June, 1996. Dr. Earl Moore served West End from 1991 to 1998.
On April 25, 1998, Pastor Alvin E. Freeman was introduced as Pastor of the West End SDA Church. In the summer of 1999, the “Manna from Heaven” Crusade was held and our family continued to grow. It was after the 2001 camp meeting that Pastor Freeman presented to the church his vision to enlarge our territory via a Television Ministry.
In August, 2006, we were again blessed to receive the world-renowned Pastor Calvin B. Preston as the shepherd of our flock. Pastor Preston, know as a power-house evangelist and leader of vision, arrived to West End with the same astounding motivation that had driven each of his previous congregations to greater heights during his tenure. Since his arrival, membership has increased both by transfers from other churches and over 300 newly baptized souls! We gave conducted several successful evangelistic crusades, Community Outreach and Prison Ministry programs, Revelation and Daniel Seminars, and been armed with the tools to conduct Bible Studies through several formal Training Ministries.
To God be the glory! Under his tutelage as Associate Pastors were Pastor Patrick Carter (March 2007-March 2010), now the South Atlantic Conference Youth Leader, and Pastor Robert Norwood (March 2010- present). We accomplished the long-awaited goal of paying off our mortgage in December, 2008. Pastor Preston recognized this as “No time to rest.” He capitalized on this momentum by focusing on the immediate need to beautify God’s House, and pursued this project with the Lord’s help. Along with the building committee, we have been led to complete an “Extreme Makeover” of the church and property. These projects include a new fence surrounding the property, complete renovations to and addition of restroom, new roofing, HVAC, sanctuary interior décor, pulpit, sound system, lighting, carpet, pews, foyer and the fellowship hall!! And the mission continues…