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” refers to the return, or second advent, 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, the Seventh-day Adventist® Church’s worldwide membership has grown to more than 20 million in more than 200 countries. The Adventist Church operates the second largest parochial education system in the world, and operates the second largest religion-based health care network in the U.S.
The Seventh-day Adventist® Church in the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division represents more than 3.9 million members from Angola, Ascension Island, Botswana, Comoro Islands, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe; as well as St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha, territories of the United Kingdom, and the Kerguelen Islands, territory of France. This regional division was officially formed in 2003, and moved from Harare, Zimbabwe to Pretoria, South Africa, in 2007.