February 5, 2019

Documentary Highlights Beginnings of Adventism in the British Isles

How well do you know the history of how the Adventist Church started in your country? I confess that even after spending six years studying for the ministry, I had never gone into much detail about how the church began where I was born, raised, and have pastored for the past 25 years.

My interest was galvanized by reading an old centenary British Union Conference Messenger magazine that celebrated “A Century of Adventism in the British Isles.” That led me to an in-depth search on the internet and the Adventist archives, which brought out a wealth of documents, articles, pictures, and information about the pioneers who were responsible for providing the solid foundation of Adventism that we have today. Their story is an amazing one.

We think evangelism may be hard today, but in my estimation, it's nothing compared to how it was for a very few faithful groups of workers for God, who had a desire and a passion for starting an entirely new denomination in a country that would have been steeped in Anglicanism and opposition to foreign ministers. Reading of their perseverance, faithfulness, and tenacity amidst the most challenging circumstances made me realize this story needs to be heard and seen.

So how did these pioneers make inroads into spreading the Adventist message within these shores while having to face so many barriers?

What challenges did they encounter along the way?

What were their mistakes which ultimately led to valuable lessons that inspired them to keep pressing on and to finally gain the first baptism after a year of hard work “softening the fallow ground”?

It was not easy for them, with financial constraints and introducing a new Sabbath-Saturday message that cut against the grain as they dealt with poverty and social ridicule. So, we have much to learn from our pioneers, lest we forget.

A Story of Perseverance, a documentary produced by the British Union Conference (BUC) Media department, seeks to highlight their story through a timeline of events and provide valuable lessons for us today as church leaders and lay members about the attitudes we ought to have about evangelism, church services, and our work in the local community.

Let their story be told.

The original version of this story was posted on the British Union Conference news site. View A Story of Perseverance documentary here