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A Choosing People
The churches of the SDB General Conference of the USA & Canada are part of a tradition which began in the early 1650s in England, when small congregations of Baptists became persuaded that the Scriptures indicated the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, was something which should be honored and celebrated.
The first church of the SDB tradition in North America was founded in Newport, Rhode Island, in late 1671, as seven members of the First Baptist Church of Newport, founded by John Clarke, left the church and joined with two others, SDBs who had emigrated from England to Rhode Island, to start a new Sabbatarian Baptist congregation.
Other churches along the East Coast of the American colonies soon followed, with groups in Piscataway, NJ and Philadelphia, PA founded by around 1705. From these three colonial locations, Seventh Day Baptists continued to spread westward, first over the Appalachian mountains after the Revolutionary War, and finally to the West Coast by about 1900.
As the number of churches grew, the need for collaboration and cooperation between the churches also grew, as desire to collaborate and work together on larger ministry objectives increased. The Seventh Day Baptist General Conference was formed in 1802 to facilitate the joint work of the confederation of churches, including work on the home mission field. Work in the areas of global mission, publishing, education, and related concerns soon followed.
Work on the global mission field began in 1843, with the founding of our Missionary Society which began sending missionaries to China (1847) and other locations to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Missions to five other continents followed. This service in mission ultimately led to the need for an international fraternal organization, the World Federation, which was founded after consultation and adoption of a constitution by sister Conferences in 11 countries in 1964.
Our history demonstrates God’s goodness and provision to take a group of small churches in England and, over the course of centuries, grow and shape them into a global people. Our Conference is proud to continue in the tradition of faithful Biblical witness, convictional covenant community, and passionate outreach we have received from the generations which have preceded us. We invite you to join us in the story of what God is doing in the world in this generation!