The clouds and cold drizzle that dampened the Bay cities of northern California on New Year's Day 1876 in no way typified the spirits of James and Ellen White, who were residing in Oakland. It was the Sabbath and a special day, a day for the edification and building up of the church, a day set apart by the General Conference Committee to be spent in prayer, fasting, and humiliation before God.
The prospects were encouraging. The Signs of the Times was to be published every week instead of every other week. This called for bold plans to fill its eight almost-newspaper-size pages every seven days. In his editorial column in the January 6 issue James White promised, "Our friends may depend upon the Signs weekly."
A well-established publishing house functioned near midcontinent in Battle Creek, Michigan.
A medical institution in Battle Creek, Michigan, which would in a few months have its tenth birthday, was now getting supplied with professional personnel.
Across the street from it was Battle Creek College, a year old and enjoying good patronage.
The outreach action of the 1874 General Conference session had been implemented, and J. N. Andrews was now pioneering the work of the church in Europe, pleading for someone to help him.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church had grown to a membership of just a little more than 10,000.