Updated: Apr 18
On January 21, 2023, approximately 70 people from across New England gathered at the historic Village Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Lancaster, MA, to review a week of prayer and spiritual revival that took place 134 years ago, to the day, at Atlantic Union College (AUC), then South Lancaster Academy. Attendees prayed that this meeting would be a step towards restoring the now empty AUC campus to a place of revival where God’s people can be prepared to carry out Christ’s mission.
Robert Hunsaker, elder and Sabbath School teacher at the Stoneham Memorial church, presented a detailed history of the 1889 revival and explained its significance. In 1889, from January 10 – 21, meetings were held at AUC from early morning to late at night. One of Adventists’ founders and spiritual leaders, Ellen White, spoke 11 times. Adventist writer, editor, teacher, and preacher, A. T. Jones, known for his teaching about righteousness by faith in Jesus, came in from Boston to speak. Adventists were still writing about this revival in 1894, five years after the event.
What caused the great revival? “I tried to present the paternal love and care of God for his children,”[i] wrote Ellen White. Later White recounted, “There was every youth in our college at South Lancaster Massachusetts, converted as we were telling them the simple story of the cross.”[ii] Ministers, teachers, and church members from across New England also attended and experienced the life changing power of the gospel.
“The influence of these messages [the gospel and three angels’ messages of Revelation 14] has been deepening and widening, setting in motion the springs of action in thousands of hearts, bringing into existence institutions of learning, publishing houses, and health institutions; all these are the instrumentalities of God,”[iii] White reported almost four years later.
Hunsaker and Bill Brace, ardent supporter of Adventist education and previous pastor in the Southern New England Conference, with assistance from the Southern New England Conference administration, organized this event. “Look[ing] at our history . . . will give us confidence that as God has been faithful in our past, He will also be faithful in our future,” concluded Hunsaker.
“Keep up the good work,” Brace added. “Jesus has more for us than we realize.”