The Seventh-day Adventist® Church was born out of the Millerite movement of the 1840s when thousands of Christians searched for greater understanding of biblical prophecy. Among these believers was a group in New England that rediscovered the seventh-day Sabbath. They chose the name “Seventh-day” which refers to the biblical Sabbath, Saturday, ordained by God at Creation. “Adventist” means we’re looking for the return of Jesus Christ.
In 1863, the new Sabbath keepers officially organized into a denomination with 3,500 members worshipping in 125 churches.
They soon began sharing their faith outside of North America, first Switzerland in 1874, then in Russia, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, and Japan.
Today, as one of the fastest growing Christian Protestant churches, 14 million baptized Seventh-day Adventist members live in 204 countries of the world. This includes more than 1 million in North America.
* This information was obtained from the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists website.
The Seventh-day Adventist message was preached in the territory of the present Chesapeake Conference as early as 1851 by the hardy pioneer, Joseph Bates. In 1899 the Chesapeake Conference was organized, composed of Delaware, Maryland (except three counties), and the District of Columbia. In an area population of 1.5 million, there was a conference membership of 700 with two ordained ministers, two licentiates, three Bible instructors, four canvassers, and one test master.
Presently, the conference office is located off Rt. 29 in Columbia, Maryland next to the Atholton Seventh-day Adventist Church. Delaware, Maryland (except two counties and including only portions of two counties), two counties in Virginia, and three counties in West Virginia constitute the Chesapeake Conference. The conference serves a population of 5.2 million with 500 employees, 64 churches, 10 companies, 2 groups, and 14 schools.
The conference administrative staff consists of three officers, six department directors, and 12 support personnel. Our mission is to provide pastoral leadership for the churches, serve as resource personnel and a resource center, and foster a mutual accountability to accomplish the Lord’s work.