The Seventh-day Adventist denomination arose from the teaching of William Miller (1782–1849) and was formally organized in 1863. Adventists believe in the imminent second coming of Christ. Seventh-day Adventist teachings first appeared in West Virginia through published materials about 1879. By the end of the year several people at Rockport in Wood County were keeping Saturday as the seventh-day Sabbath, and upon their request evangelist Isaac Sanborn was sent from Virginia. During the next year Sanborn held meetings in Wood, Roane, and Kanawha counties. He concluded his work in the state in December 1880, and reported 40 adherents to the faith.
During the next three years the evangelistic work was continued by J.R.S. Mowrey and others. By the middle of 1883, two churches had been organized, one in Wood County and one in Kanawha. In 1885, the ‘‘West Virginia Mission’’ was organized under the watchful care of the Ohio Conference. Evangelistic meetings continued throughout the state during the late 1880s, and on September 15, 1887, the West Virginia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was organized with W. J. Stone as its first president. Meanwhile, the first camp meeting had been held the week before with about 125 people attending.
The early decades of the 20th century were a period of aggressive evangelism in the young, struggling conference. In the 1940s, leading Adventist evangelists R. L. Boothby and L. R. Mansell conducted evangelistic campaigns in Charleston, Bluefield, and Huntington. By 1950, the conference consisted of more than 2,000 members. Churches and church schools were established throughout the state. On August 22, 1971, the conference was reorganized as the Mountain View Conference of Seventh-day Adventists with its main office in Parkersburg.
In 2002, there were 2,450 Seventh-day Adventists in the conference and 34 churches. At about the time of the 1971 reorganization the conference purchased more than 200 acres south of Huttonsville and developed it as a retreat area for adults and youths, a well-equipped campground called Valley Vista.
This Article was written by James W. Daddysman
Last Revised on October 29, 2010