The constitution of the Society states: “The objectives of the Society shall be the dissemination of the gospel in the United
States of America, Canada, and other parts of the world, and the promotion of kindred religious and benevolent works.”
The purpose of the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society is to promote the sharing of the gospel with all peoples. This will be carried out by partnering with individuals, churches, and ministries as they carry the message of salvation through faith in Christ, and teach His disciples to obey all that He commanded.
The Missionary Society is made up of the Board of Managers and the Executive Committee.
Officers & Executive Committee 2019 – 2020
President: Danny Lee Vice-President: Levi Bond
Treasurer: Norman K. Burdick Second Vice-President: Miriam Berg
Assistant Treasurer: (vacant) Secretary: Kathleen A. Hughes
Chief Executive Director: Andrew Samuels Assistant Secretary: Julianne Grove
Director of Outreach: Garfield Miller
2019 – 2020 Board of Managers
Amanda Barbee, Perry Barbee, Miriam Berg, Levi Bond, Norman K. Burdick, Gary Chester, Julianne Grove, Kathy Hughes, Steven James, Gordon Lawton, Danny Lee, Garfield Miller, Michaela Osborn, Andrew Samuels, Marva Shears, Michael Spearl, David Stall, Laura Sutton, and Joel Sutton.
Relation to General Conference and Churches:
From a legal standpoint the Missionary Society is responsible only to the commonwealth from whom it receives its charter. However, Seventh Day Baptist Churches through General Conference organized the Society, for the conducting of their missionary work. Therefore, it is morally responsible to the churches. The General Conference is the one organization which best represents the churches, and through which they can best express their wishes and give their contributions. These things being true, it shall be the policy of this Board to solicit at all times the advice of General Conference and individual churches and it shall act upon its own best judgment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Relation to Other Boards and Interests:
The work of this Board and that of other denominational Boards are part of one great whole, and in all consistent ways this Board shall cooperate with other denominational Boards and agencies for the promotion of our common cause.
The constitution provides that a duly elected voting member may exercise his voting rights by proxy, or in person, at any annual or special meeting of the Missionary Society. Voting members are those of the Seventh Day Baptist faith who have made application annually and paid the annual dues of $10.00. When annual dues are paid online an additional $5 fee is charged to help cover the cost of online transfer fees. Non-voting members are those persons who contribute one dollar or more annually to the funds of the Society or are members of a church belonging to the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference USA and Canada, LTD, and may be observers at the annual or special meetings of the Society.
The annual meeting of the Society is held the third Sunday of March at 2:00 p.m., usually in the Missionary Society Office in Ashaway, RI. At such time the officers and a Board of Managers are elected to carry on the work of the Society. The officers of the Society are the officers of the Board, which consists of fifteen or more members and meets regularly in January, April, July and October of each year. Members of the Society and all Seventh Day Baptists are welcome at these meetings.
The officers of the Society, including an Executive Director who is the administrative officer, form an executive Committee that carries the management of the Society when the Board is not in session. The president also appoints, from the membership of the society, standing committees which are located in specified Associations and relate to areas of interest and responsibility and which give in-depth study for their recommendations to the Board session. These committees include: Africa Committee, Americas Committee, Asia Committee, Hispanic Committee, Home Field Committee, Missions Committee, and Youth/Young Adult Committee.
The Missions Advocate position was established to provide a means by which to disperse information to the individual churches on a more regular basis. The Advocates responsibility is to secure, implement, and distribute missionary materials to church and Sabbath School members regularly, to dramatize our mission outreach, and to stimulate missionary interest and support in the local church.
Each local church is asked to appoint one member as their Advocate, informing the Executive Director of the Board of their name and address. This Advocate is to secure, implement and distribute missionary materials to church and Sabbath School members regularly, to dramatize our mission outreach and stimulate missionary interest and support in the local church. On occasion reports as to observances and mission emphasis activities and suggestions should be given. Volunteers for this position are encouraged to contact the church president or pastor.
The Advocate is to communicate suggestions and comments to the Executive Director of the Society.
Seventh Day Baptists have always been a missionary people. In 1664 Stephen Mumford immigrated to Newport, Rhode Island, and was encouraged in his witness by Seventh Day Baptist (then known as Sabbatarian Baptist) brethren in London, England. It was through his labors that the first Seventh Day Baptist Church was organized in Newport in 1671. AS soon as it became strong enough it sent out the minister to other parts of Rhode Island and Connecticut to preach the gospel and the Sabbath truth. A log meeting house was built in the Hopkinton area of Westerly in 1680, but the First Hopkinton church was not constituted until 1708. In the 1700s the mission work was to visit and preach to the scattered Sabbath-keepers, to nourish, strengthen and build them up.
The General Conference, in its first meeting (1802), was a missionary movement established “that missionaries be sent out, instructed and supported by the General Conference.” In 1818 a “Board of Trustees and Directors of Missions” was appointed. In 1821 the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Magazine began its five-year history. In 1828 a more aggressive and independent society, “the American Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society,” was formed, and the next year the General Board of Missions of Conference turned the responsibilities of missions over to this new society. In 1839 a Hebrew Missionary Society was formed. In 1842 the SDB Missionary Association was started and was merged with the existing society to form the “Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society.”
The home field was primary. But in 1844 interest grew in a foreign mission work. Through the years many fields have been entered. The date of entry and close of work, through missionaries from America, are given. Countries underlined indicate that a continuing national church has developed.
China 1847 – 1950
Palestine 1854 – 1860
England 1896 – 1900
Malawi 1898 – 1914, 1953 – 1990
Guyana 1913 – 1930, 1961 – 1974
Jamaica 1923 – 1978
Philippines 1979 – 1985
Finland 1987 – 1990
Mexico 1998 – 2008
In recent years the concept of mission work has changed. This was due partly in the expense of sending a full-time missionary to a location, supporting them, and then returning them to the States. But, also we have found that the best people to teach a group is one of the group. So, the plan was to send a teacher to instruct the leaders in the polity and beliefs of the Seventh Day Baptists and allow them to pass the information along to the congregations. This worked very effectively. After a couple of visits to the country by the Executive Director of the Missionary Society an individual would visit them and take a couple of weeks to speak to them about the polity, beliefs, and structure of a Seventh Day Baptist conference. This leader would work with the leaders to formulate a manual of procedure for their conference. This manual would then be published and distributed to the churches so that the leaders could teach the congregation. The expense for this process is much lower and would enable one of the leaders within the country to do the teaching and leading of the conference to a better understanding of the work that is to be done.
Since 1992, God has opened the door to our denomination to many countries and they have entered and succeeded in their ministries. A complete list of them, along with the name of the General Secretary and his e-mail address, can be obtained through a request to the Missionary Society in the USA. However, this should not be mistaken for the list of members held in the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation.