Though the Whites were fond of California, they did not intend that Oakland should be their permanent residence, for they must keep close to Battle Creek and the church's many interests there. Wrote James White:
There our first college, our Health Institute, and our main printing house are located. There is a church of more than two hundred members who regard us as their pastor, though we are from them six months at a time, and are with them only a few Sabbaths in a year. We can never have as much interest at any other point as at Battle Creek (ibid., Nov. 11, 1875).
James White had in mind to return to the East soon. Important developments at headquarters summoned him as president of the General Conference to be present. An extra session of the General Conference had been appointed to convene March 31. Discussions would include the fact that the board of directors of the health reform institute in Battle Creek had decided to put up a large main building and had invited James White and O. B. Jones to direct the carrying out of these plans; the advancing cause in Europe required an office of publication; and plans needed to be laid for the camp meeting season.
James White was soon on his way. J. H. Waggoner, working on the Pacific Coast, announced:
Brother James White, president of the General Conference, left Oakland yesterday morning, the twenty-second, for Battle Creek, Michigan, to attend this conference. We are happy to say that Brother White left California in good health and with good courage. He has labored very hard here for nearly six months past under circumstances which might have discouraged one of less faith and less consecration to the cause of truth. The work of the publishing house has prospered wonderfully under his careful management (ibid., Mar. 23, 1876).