Also a BUC News video report

23rd May 2013

Tuesday, 21 May saw the 150th birthday of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, officially organised by twenty delegates on 21 May 1863. The 17 million member Church that now encompasses the globe in its mission and outreach started from very small beginnings following the collapse of a movement led by Baptist preacher, William Miller, who expected Christ to return in 1844.

Following what came to be known as 'the great disappointment', the experience led a small group of believers to restudy their Bibles in great depth, challenging every belief and doctrine. This climaxed in a series of Bible Conferences in 1848 that started to lead toward the formation of a Church that focuses on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and holds the Bible supreme as its rule of faith.

Sweeny video on 150 yearsThe name 'Seventh-day Adventist' was chosen to reflect what those early believers saw as 'distinctive' from other Protestant Churches. Thus the focus on the seventh-day as the biblical Sabbath and the strong belief, still held by Adventists today, that we live at the tail-end of earth's history and that Jesus Christ will return soon. A page on the new Adventist Church website helps answer the question that many Christians ask: "Why are you different?"

Celebrations around the world were rather subdued for, as Pastor Ian Sweeney, President of the Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland states in a BUC News video report, "we didn't expect to still be here after 150 years." His continued emphasis is that church members should keep a focus on those wonderful prophecies of Christ's return, not just as a promise for themselves, but as a motivation to share the good news in their communities. 

Ted_Wilson_150yearsAt a brief ceremony at Adventist World Church head office, Washington DC, Pastor and World President, Ted Wilson noted that "This anniversary is a call for you and for me to move forward…revived and reformed in Him, empowered by the Holy Spirit to live out the dreams and hopes of God Himself as the Holy Spirit leads us."

While the Church was organised in 1863, and already had some Adventist believers in the UK by that same year, it was another decade before John Loughborough and other missionaries put significant effort into sharing the Adventist message in the British Isles. Today the Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland stands at just over 34,000 members.

More on Adventist History can be found on the ANN website, or specifically in the UK on the Adventist Church History website. In a BUC News video report, Pastor Sweeney reflects on the 150 year history of the Adventist Church.

[Victor Hulbert]

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