It’s almost Christmas, and some people have had their wish list ready for months!
In 1886 the little group of Seventh-day Adventists in Tramelan, Switzerland, also had a Christmas wish. They wanted a church. They decided not just to wish, but to do something.
The small group had been meeting in a room in Mr. Roth’s (pronounced Rote) house. Getting ready for church meant a lot of work for the family. They had to drag all the furniture out of the biggest room and carry in benches and some boards to use as benches. After the church service everything had to be put back in place. Sometimes when there were a lot of guests they had to open the doors into other rooms and let people sit wherever they could find a place.
So Mr. Roth decided to build a wooden chapel in his backyard. Mr. and Mrs. Roth had a large family, with seven boys and three girls. Some of the children were already grown, but they all helped in the family business. The Roths owned a tailor shop, a small grocery store, and a bakery in the town of Tramelan. All were excited about helping to build the chapel.
By December the chapel was built. The inside was painted white, and wooden benches were installed. A large wood-burning stove was put in the back corner to warm the chapel.
The week before the dedication of the chapel there was a heavy snowfall. Trees and buildings were covered in snow, but that didn’t stop some special guests from coming.
On Friday, December 24, one of the Roth boys took horses and a sleigh to the station. This was going to be a Christmas to remember. He was soon back with their guests.
One of the guests was a small gray-haired American woman, Ellen White. Ellen White had been living in the large city of Basel, Switzerland, for the past year. She had visited Tramelan before and was excited about the new chapel. This would be the first Seventh-day Adventist church outside of North America, and she was asked to preach the dedication sermon on Sabbath, December 25.
Even though it was just a small wooden chapel, Ellen White reminded the listeners that this was a place “where God meets with His people, and no angry feelings . . . should exist in the hearts of the worshipers, for this would shut away the Spirit of God from them.”
That’s good advice for any time we get together to worship God.
Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p. 229.
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