History

Desmond Doss - A Humble Man of Service

The Lookout Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church was officially organized on Lookout Mountain, GA by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference in 1952 to provide a ‘light up on the hill’ and reach those in the surrounding community. Their place of worship was the school building left vacant when the school was moved to Tennessee. Although it did provide shelter, it was far from the kind of accommodations that are conducive to worship. Hopes for the erection of a new church home seemed almost beyond the realm of possibility due to the small number of members and their very limited incomes. 

Just one year after church organization, Desmond Doss brought his family to the mountaintop and set about to build a proper house of worship for God’s church. It was not an easy task, nor was it accomplished as rapidly as he would have liked. Funds were still needed to start the project, not to mention, who would do the constuction?

The General Conference had published a little paperback book telling the story of Desmond’s non-combatant stand while in the service. Extra copies were given to Desmond, so he decided to sell these to raise money for his church-building project. Most of the money raised came from these donations. Desmond was often asked to speak at various public functions – each time all of the funds he received, in addition to his actual expenses, were placed in the building project fund or used for some specific church need. The funds for the new church grew and grew.

The actual construction of the church necessitated still more miracles as not one cent of hired labor was used – there were only four able-bodied male members during much of this time. “Everybody worked,” said Desmond, “even the children. It was real teamwork.” There was Roy E. Cooper (first elder) who worked very closely with Desmond through every stage of construction. Frank Pace helped light the spark of enthusiasm for the project, and did much of the carpentry work. Henry Burchard was responsible for the plumbing and electrical work. Much of the painting was done by B. R. Chappell. Mr. and Mrs. James Ziegler, though members elsewhere, contributed heavily toward the project. And Desmond took, as his special project, the installation of a central heating system, though he had never done that kind of work before. 

It was not until the fall of 1970 that work had progressed to the point where the Lookout Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church had its grand opening. But a happier group of people could not be found than the 24 members who had teamed up to permit God to work through them in producing “this miracle.” Desmond said, “[It was] the greatest undertaking of my life. Everything just seemed to fall into place — the right place at the right time.”

Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet.

Ministry of Healing, p. 487.

 

Desmond Doss witnessed a good share of those “thousand ways” as the Lord opened one door after another in making Desmond’s dream a reality. He dedicated countless hours of his time and energy into raising funds for the church building efforts, as well as, physical labor to help build the new structure. Eventually, another addition was made to make room for the school to be reopened – which his son, Desmond Doss, Jr. attended.

After 17 years of hard labor and many donations, the dream and vision of Desmond Doss was a reality. This church held a special place in Desmond’s heart and he was the backbone of the church for many years. Desmond Doss attended the Lookout Mountain church until 2005 and many of it’s current members have fond memories of Desmond. Today, the church “on the hill” still stands and it’s members carry on that vision of outreach in the surrounding communities. It is our desire to reach “just one more” for God’s kingdom. 

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Sourced and adapted from Southern Tidings, March 1971. Portions cited from A. C. McClure, Public Relations Secretary

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