Portland Head Light

Mission and History


To support and facilitate our six conferences and institutions in reaching all people with the Adventist Christ-centered message of hope and wholeness.


Brief History
The Atlantic Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (originally called Eastern Union Conference) was organized on April 16, 1901, at the 34th 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 127,771 of the more than 20 million members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, in addition, work closely with its eight academies, 54 elementary schools, many community service centers, summer camp programs geared to accommodate children, youth, adults, and the entire family, and a van ministry in the New York City area.

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 127,771 members scattered throughout 603 churches and 93 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.