“I must tell you about the time there was a general gathering of all the churches around the [San Francisco] Bay at the old 25th Street church in Oakland, because Sister White was to be the speaker,” wrote Earl Williams. “The church was packed, with no room for standing, either. The church had six narrow, tall windows, arched at the top, quite a distance from the floor. I had never seen any of them opened. With the church jam-packed you can imagine how thick the air was—stifling—after all the songs and introductory remarks. By the time the sermon was to start, about half the congregation was ready to go to sleep.
“Then Sister White solemnly stood up and asked, ‘Are there any deacons here who can open up these windows and give us some fresh air? How can I preach with the congregation half asleep?’ Then she returned to her seat and sat down.
“You have never seen such scurrying around in your life as those deacons trying to get the windows pulled down. They could not find the pole with the hook on it to grab the sash and pull it down. Finally someone found it in the school behind the church. But no matter how hard they tried, they could not budge the sash. It was stuck for good.
“You can imagine how amused everyone was during all this time. Sister White calmly sat there waiting to feel that fresh air she had requested. Finally they got a tall ladder outside and with a hammer and chisel broke the sashes loose from the casings so they could open all the windows. Then Sister White stood up, threw back her shoulders as far as she could, took a long, deep breath, and said, ‘Now that is more like it. All of you sit up straight in your seats and breathe deeply. I refuse to talk to a congregation that is half asleep!’ Then she talked about the benefits of fresh air and how it influences the brain.
“I noticed that for several months those windows were kept down for ventilation; but sad to say, gradually those who complained about drafts won out. You guessed it—as far as I can remember they were never opened again. I think that if Sister White were to preach again, the deacons would rush around and open them up wide for her.”