Ellen White and her son were present for the first general meetings to be held in the publishing house chapelófirst the Swiss Conference, scheduled to meet in session from September 10 to 14, and then the European Missionary Council, to open September 14.
The Swiss Conference consisted of 224 members in 10 churches, and an additional 39 Sabbathkeepers in groups. The members were served by one ordained minister and seven licensed ministers. There were 251 Sabbath school members, enrolled in 11 Sabbath schools.
Of the session that opened on Thursday evening, September 10, Mrs. White wrote:
The conference was quite generally attended by our Swiss brethren, and by representatives from Germany, France, Italy, and Romania. There were nearly two hundred brethren and sisters assembled; and a more intelligent, noble-looking company is seldom seen. Although gathered from different nations, we were brought near to God and to one another by our eyes being fixed upon the one object, Jesus Christ. We were one in faith, and one in our efforts to do the will of God. The influence of the gospel is to unite God's people in one great brotherhood (RH, Nov. 3, 1885).
Of course, not all in the assembly could converse in one language. The congregation was divided into three parts, according to the language they understood. These were seated in different parts of the hallóFrench, German, and English.