The seed for Adventism began to be sown on 27th November 1893, when C.H. Richards and his wife, through the colporteur ministry arrived in Nassau from New York, and spread the Advent Message through the printed page. Individuals receiving the books began to read and study the printed pages –thus accepting the advent message.
Following the Richards in 1895 was Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Parmele who were also literature evangelists. Their work was made a little bit easy because of the printed pages given out by the Richards. One week after the arrival of the Parmeles’, Mr. Charles Antonio, a shoemaker and his family of six became the first Bahamian to accept the Seventh Day Adventist message. His son, William W. Antonio was among the first to serve on the Bahamas Mission of Seventh Day Adventist Executive Committee.
The spark of Adventism began to grow, two then young men, Pastors Silas N. McKinney and Neville E. Scavella were the first Bahamians to train for the ministry. In 1956, upon completion of their theological studies, they were employed by the Bahamas Mission which became a Conference in 1968. There have been many other persons who had a hand in the furthering of Adventism in the Bahamas, such as Pastor Swaney, Pastor and Mrs. Smith and many others.
Since the start of the Seventh Day Adventist Conference, many Bahamians have served as Presidents. They are as follows:
Silas N. McKinney 1964 -1976
Leslie V. McMillan 1976 - 1980
Hugh A. Roach 1980 - 1986
Silas N. McKinney 1986 - 1990
Jeremiah Duncombe 1990 - 1996
Keith D. Albury 1996 - January 10, 2003
Leonard Johnson - January 10, 2003 – to present
ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH
To date, the Seventh Day Adventist Church is made up of 50,000 congregations in 210 countries and over 12 million members and growing. To maintain order, unity and to run efficiently, the church is organized into four structural levels.
1. The General Conference/Divisions provide leadership on a global scale(world wide) and focus on specific needs within the various world fields.
2. The Unions: Those serving at this level are to implement the vision and goals in their regions, adopting strategies in a way to fit their territory.
3. Conferences: Those serving at this level manage the day to day affairs of a group of churches and institutions, while coordinating and planning how to carry God’s words forward in the area assigned to them.
4. Local Churches: At this level, the local church is expected to nurture its members, evangelize their communities, build individual faith and provide the grass root structure for the entire church organization.
The Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is the fourth largest religious denomination of the Bahamas; with a history of over 100 years (1893). The Bahamas Conference consists of 36 churches scattered throughout the Central and Southern Bahamas, and has a membership of 9,935 and growing, who seek to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As of January 10, 2003, the North Bahamas was organized into the North Bahamas Mission. This was done to expand the work of the church. This includes Abaco, Grand Bahama, Bimini and the Berry Island. Pastor Keith Albury was elected to serve as its first President, from 2003 – 2006,(deceased). The current President of the North Bahamas Mission is Pastor E. Bryan Tinker. The now North Bahamas Mission is moving into its Conference stage (not totally official yet.)