Centennial Celebrations & Moving Forward with the Merger

Centennial Celebrations & Moving Forward with the Merger

Aug 25, 2015

Centennial Celebrations & Moving Forward with the Merger

Rev. Nicholas J. Kersten

Director of Education and History




At the recently completed General Conference meetings in Lancaster, PA, the Conference voted to adopt the merger agreement which was previously adopted by the Historical Society at its May meeting. As a result of these two votes, the Society will be working cooperatively with the Conference to affect the merger of the two organizations sometime early in 2016, after the necessary documents have been collected and can be reviewed by legal counsel and the State of Wisconsin. Because the merger will not be affected until 2016, the Society will have the opportunity to celebrate 100 years of fruitful ministry. The work of historic preservation among SDBs, once the merger is final, will be accomplished by the SDB Council on History.

The Historical Society was founded in 1916 to further the aims of the General Conference’s Standing Committee on History, which was dissolved when the Society was founded. The presenting issue which required the creation of the Society was an offer from Julius F. Sachse, a friend of Seventh Day Baptists and the owner of a large collection of items pertaining to the Ephrata Cloister and German SDBs. Nearing the end of his life and wishing for his collection to be taken care of by Sabbathkeepers, Sachse contacted the SDB General Conference with an offer to sell the collection to us.

Unfortunately, the General Conference could not participate in the transaction because it was not yet incorporated itself. So the Historical Society was incorporated in New Jersey so that it could ultimately complete the transaction. In addition, because the Conference didn’t have the available capital to purchase the collection, those who wished to take ownership of the collection raised funds to help reach Sachse’s asking price. In the end, Sachse paid half of his asking price himself, SDBs raised the rest, and the Historical Society became the proud owners and stewards of Sachse’s important collection — a collection which we have seen cared for an entire century.

Despite the corporate changes, the vision and mission of the Historical Society and the coming Council on History will be the same as they have been going forward, including both preservation and communication goals. These goals still require the ongoing support of Seventh Day Baptists if they are going to be successful for the next century. For this reason, we hope that those interested in historic preservation among SDBs will give their full support to the new Council on History by supporting us in the coming years!

One of the long standing ways to support us is to be a regular financial supporter of our work. As a result of the affection of the merger, current membership categories in the Society will be converted into analogous new supporter categories for the Council on History. Moving forward, those who designate their donations to the work of historic preservation among SDBs will

receive the benefits of the former members at designated giving levels. Life Members of the Society will become Patrons of SDB History, and those who give more than $200 will become new Patrons. Annual Members of the Society will become Friends of SDB History for a donation of $20/year. An additional category, Legacy Partners, has been created to honor those who give more than $5,000 to the continued preservation of SDB history through our Centennial Fund. Discounts on our publications and access to our website (www.sdbhistory.org) are the biggest perks of supporting our work.

The Centennial Fund campaign continues, and we are a long way from our goal of increasing the endowment of the Society by $300,000 by the end of 2016. Keep your eyes peeled for the Society’s fall mailing for your chance to join in our campaign to support historic preservation among SDBs for the next century!

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