A Protestant, Christian denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist Church grew out of the world-wide religious revival in the mid-nineteenth century. People of many religious persuasions believed that Bible prophecies indicated that the second coming or advent of Christ was imminent.
A Great Disappointment
When Christ did not come in the 1840s, a group of these disappointed Adventists in the United States continued their Bible studies and concluded that they had misinterpreted prophetic events and that the second coming of Christ was still in the future. This same group of Adventists later accepted the teaching of the seventh-day Sabbath and became known as Seventh-day Adventists. The Church organised formally in 1863 and began its mission to the world.
Only the Bible
Basing its faith and practice wholly on the Bible, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has developed 28 fundamental beliefs. It is these key beliefs which unify the otherwise very diverse world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church:
The organisational structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has enabled it to keep pace with its rapid growth. A heavy emphasis on medical and missionary work has led to steady growth in the western world and phenomenal growth in the third world.
A Growing Church
Seventh-day Adventist Churches literally circle the globe. Recent (2017) statistics show membership beyond 20.2 million worshipping in more than 141,000 congregations in 209 countries. (Note that the UN recognises 232 countries in the world!) On average over 2,889 people join the Adventist church each day with an annual global growth rate of 2.43%. The membership in the UK and Ireland is 34,048 (December 2012) with attendance being considerably higher than this..
A Caring Church
The Adventist Church also operates 173 hospitals, 348 clinics and dispensaries, medical centres, nursing homes, retirement centres, orphanages and children's homes, that in the year 2010 served almost 16 million people. In the UK you will find that many churches run feeding programmes and are engaged with their local communities in mentoring programmes, children's clubs and other activities.
A Teaching Church
In addition the Church runs a world-wide system of more than 7,800 schools with over 1,668,000 students from kindergarten to graduate professional schools. Educational institutions in the UK and Ireland include 1 college, 2 secondary schools and 7 primary schools.
A Serving Church
In response to Christ's invitation to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, Seventh-day Adventists try to help friends and neighbours in need irrespective of race, colour or religion. Internationally, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) helps victims of war, famine, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters. In addition, many Adventist congregations have community service facilities, from which volunteers help those in need close to home. In the year 2000, Adventists helped over 15 million men, women and children. An annual camp, sponsored by ADRA-UK, is held in North Wales for handicapped children.
A Communicating Church
The Adventist Church also has a world-wide publishing ministry, with more than 50 publishing companies, printing scores of magazines and other publications in nearly 327 languages and dialects. Leading magazines in the United Kingdom include "Focus" - dealing with doctrine and prophecy from Scripture, and "Encounter", a specialised youth magazine.