Mission and History
The Mission of the Atlantic Union Conference is to lead all people, through the power of the everlasting gospel, into a growing, balanced, mature Christian experience; to develop the church family; to serve the local community; and to prepare every person for the soon coming of Jesus Christ.
The Atlantic Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (originally called Eastern Union Conference) was organized on April 16, 1901, at the thirty-fourth General Conference session held at Battle Creek, Michigan.
It was renamed Atlantic Union Conference at its first biennial session held at the church (Village) in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, November 27 to December 5, 1901.
It is the headquarters for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Northeastern Region of the United States and Bermuda and is composed of six conferences (Bermuda, Greater New York, New York, Northeastern, Northern New England, and Southern New England) covering the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the islands of Bermuda.
The headquarters for the Atlantic Union Conference is located in South Lancaster, Massachusetts and houses the offices of the president, executive secretary, treasurer, two vice presidents, departmental personnel and office secretaries.
The officers and departmental directors provide administrative leadership for more than 115,721 of the almost 18 million members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, in addition, work closely with its seven academies, 54 elementary schools, many community service centers, summer camp programs geared to accommodate children, youth, adults, and the entire family, and two van ministries: one in the New York City area and the other in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
In the space of 30 years, three important aspects of the early Advent Movement had been established. They were the literature ministry, a school for Christian education, and a health institution. Much credit has to be attributed to the faithfulness of Stephen N. Haskell, a pioneer of the church. He not only opened his home for the early believers in the small New England Village of South Lancaster, but he personally contributed his means for the advancement of the young Advent movement.
In 1869 the Vigilant Missionary Society was organized. This was the beginning of the Book and Bible House organization, now known as the Adventist Book Center, and Lay Activities Department which in later years has become the Personal Ministries Department of the church. In 1882 Stehen N. Haskell established South Lancaster Academy, which later developed into Atlantic Union College. In 1899 a sanitarium was started in the village of South Lancaster, but was later moved to Stoneham, Massachusetts and became the forerunner of the former Boston Regional Medical Center.
Today, the Atlantic Union with its more than 116,252 members scattered throughout 579 churches and 71 companies (groups/missions) in the Northeast United States and the islands of Bermuda places great emphasis on fulfilling the mission of Jesus and the three angel’s messages. It is endeavoring to accomplish this through a diversity of approaches and ways, such as emphasizing the following:
- religious liberty and human rights
- lifestyles changes
- education and personal growth
- humanitarian aid and development
- health and wholeness
- social issues that lead all men to respect and love each other as God’s children
Adventists see their adherence to these values as ways of illustrating both faith in the God who created and cares intimately for every one of Earth’s inhabitants, and the character of Jesus as displayed during His earthly ministry. The church is also committed to helping improve the “quality of life” of mankind and preparing people for the soon return of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.