HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH-DAY CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE
The Seventh-Day Christian Conference was
incorporated as a regularly constituted religious body with headquarters in New York, New York, on the third of February 1937.
The primary objectives and purposes of the Conference are: to promulgate the faith of Jesus Christ, advance the spiritual understanding of all worshipers and followers, and to diffuse and extend the knowledge and realization of “The Commandments of God” and “The Everlasting Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” as taught in the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Scriptures.
All of the beliefs of Seventh-Day Christians are Bible-based. They believe, among other things, that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, revealing Jesus Christ; that salvation from sin comes only through the atoning death of Jesus Christ, as a result of the exercise of faith by the sinner; that the Law of the Ten Commandments is God’s standard righteousness and is binding upon all men, since we shall be judged by it; that the only Sabbath day of the Bible is the seventh day of the week commonly known as Saturday; that the ordinances left by Jesus Christ for observances by His church are Baptism by Immersion, The Ordinance of Fellowship, and the Lord’s Supper.
The Conference was formed by a group of former Seventh Day Adventists who, with others, had left that denomination in December 1928 disturbed by policies and practices they believed to be discriminatory. Believing that the Holy Scriptures reveal clearly that racial segregation or discrimination or any other form of prejudice against any human being is condemned by God as sin, these former Adventists established independent groups around the country under the name United Sabbath Day Adventists. In 1934,being dissatisfied with the leadership, several of these churches and missions were organized under the name Seventh-Day Christian Conference and were legally incorporated in 1937.
The names of the presidents from 1934 to the present are: R. Leo Soaries, Philip J. Bailey, Sr., E. Leo Warren, Dingwall C. Fleary, DeForest B. Soaries, Lionel W. Holness, Buster Soaries, Charles Ffrench and Lesford Foreman.
In December 1956, the Seventh-Day Christian Conference established a mission in Kingston, Jamaica, The West Indies and in 1964 built a church and headquarters building there for the Jamaica Mission of Seventh-Day Christians. In 1979, to carry out its objectives more effectively, the Seventh-Day Christian Conference purchased a headquarters building in New York City. All other buildings are owned by the member churches in their respective locales, except for the First Seventh-Day Christian Church of Lower Buxton, Jamaica, which building is the property of the Conference.
In 1982 the P.J. Bailey, Sr., Scholarship Fund was established to encourage young people to attain a degree in higher education. The Fund is named after a founder of the Seventh-Day Christian Conference who served the Conference in various capacities until his death in 1964. The present name of the fund is Philip J. Bailey, Sr./George A. Harewood/E.Leo Warren Scholarship Fund. To be eligible for this award, one must be a member of a Seventh-Day Christian Church or one who regularly attends a Seventh Day Christian Church or a relative of a member.
In 1999 reflecting the growth of the Jamaica Mission and its increasing autonomy; the Jamaica Mission was established as the Caribbean Conference of Seventh-Day Christians, which grew to become seven groups: the Berea S.D.C. Church in Kingston, the First Seventh-Day Christian Church of Lower Buxton in St. Ann’s, the Line Tree S.D.C. in St. Andrew’s, the Pental Vale S.D.C. Church in Bull Bay, the Top Hill S.D.C. Church in St. Catherine, and the Portmore S.D.C. Church in St. Catherine. The Top Hill Church withdrew from the Conference in 2013.
In view of the advancing age and retirement of the ministers there, the Seventh-Day Christian Conference anticipated the need to train young men for the ministry. With the support of funds from the Ministers and Workers Educational Fund, at least eight young men were trained as ministers, ordained as Elders then Pastors. Three young women were trained as workers.