Histroy of Berean 3
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The following February in 1920 Aunt Bessie married Wallace Mitchell, a World War I veteran. He was a Christian and a steward in the AME Church. He became an Adventist nine years later. Bessie and husband moved out of our house and set up their own housekeeping in July of 1920. In the fall of that same year Mr. Henry Davis and wife “Minnie” came to South Bend and roomed with us. Under mother's influence Mrs. Davis became an Adventist the early part of 1921.
In the same year mother revealed to the “White Brethren” that we felt it best to organize a separate group. None of the “White Brethren” were in favor of it. They pleaded for everyone to stay. Some even cried and wanted to know what they had done that anyone should want to leave. Mother assured them that everything was alright. She reminded them that the influx of our race from the south was increasing which afforded a good opportunity for missionary endeavor. Most of these new-comers had been denied the privilege of worshiping with White people in the south. Some were very shy of White people on a religious or social basis, fearing insults or bodily injury. The “new freedom” offered to them religious experiences for which they were not ready.
Being assured that good will still existed the White brethren consented and offered to help in any way they could. Our children could still attend the elementary school at $8.00 per family per month if we so desired. The same store fronts used for worship was used for the parochial school during the week. Evolution was being introduced into the schools and all parents were anxious to keep their children believing in the Bible.
We met in each others homes for a while. We had no officers. We decided to rent a place and we asked the White brethren to help us get a minister. While they laid the matter before the Lake Union Conference, we obtained the Knights of Pythian's Lodge Hall, known as “Melvin Hall” on Niles Avenue. Mother thought it best to have some kind of officers before the new preacher arrived. By common consent mother was asked to appoint the officers since she was the senior believer. Mrs. Will Clark became the pianist for all services, Mrs. Della Johnson, church clerk, Brother Will Clark, treasurer. They then suggested that the Bible study group preceding their church worship be known as Sabbath School with mother as superintendent. As to these early officers, mother's record would be more accurate than mine.
A minister finally arrived in the summer of 1921. He was a bachelor named “Cyrus Greene.” He was in his latter forties, very friendly and informal, and had us referring to him as “Si Green.” Conference officials were present at our first meeting with him. They informed us that we did not have enough members to organize a church but we could form a company. So we went on record as the “Colored Company of Seventh-day Adventists of South Bend, Indiana.