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Seventh-Day Adventists

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church has its origins in 19th century America. The “seventh day” portion of the group’s title reflects its observance of Saturday as the Sabbath. The “Adventist” portion reflects the church’s tenet that the Advent, or Second Coming of Christ, is about to occur. The church counts more than two million American members.

Seventh-Day Adventists keep the Sabbath. They worship on Saturdays and refuse to do secular work on that day, preferring to do charity work or engage in family activities and meals. An important part of Adventist Holy Communion, which takes place only four times a year, is the ritual foot washing called the “Ordinance of Humility,” based on Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. Members partake of a symbolic “Lord’s Supper” after the ceremony is complete.

Adventists believe in a sense of destiny and consider it their duty to warn others of the impending end of the world. They believe in the infallibility of biblical scripture. Their interrelated concepts of “investigative judgment” and “divine sanctuary” deal with the process of salvation in the face of individual free will.

Since its beginning, the Adventist movement has been associated with concerns for the health and wellbeing of practitioners (and of the public). Many Adventists are vegetarians or vegans. Some even follow Jewish Kosher food practices. Many avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, sodas, and a range of substances thought deleterious to the health. In general, the stress is on “clean living” and socially conservative attitudes toward entertainment, dress, and everyday comportment.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church has an impressive record of maintaining schools, hospitals and missionary organizations in the United States and around the world. These institutions are for the benefit of all, reflecting the strong Adventist concentration on religious liberty.

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