The Wisconsin Conference office, located in Fall River, Wisconsin, serves as church leadership headquarters and as a spiritual training resource center for members in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Adventists are passionate about worshipping and serving Jesus Christ. Each Saturday (Sabbath) morning, more than 7,300 members gather to worship in 78 churches, companies, or groups. Sabbath School, the Bible study portion of the service, typically begins at 9:30 a.m. and the worship hour typically begins at 11:00 a.m. Services are offered around the conference in English and Spanish. The Seventh-day Adventist Church embraces people regardless of race, national origin, gender, color, age, marital status, or disability.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is one of the fastest-growing mainstream protestant denominations in the world with more than 16 million members worshipping in a faith community of more than 25 million people. As a mainstream, Christian denomination, Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are rooted in the Holy Scriptures.
Wisconsin Conference operates 11 primary schools across the state and one secondary boarding school, Wisconsin Academy, in Columbus, Wisconsin. Each summer, Wisconsin members and guests gather for our annual 10-day camp meeting, a time of training, inspiration, and fellowship. Summer camps for children, teens, and families are held at Camp Wakonda.
Wisconsin Conference is home to a branch of Apple Valley Natural Foods and the Adventist Book Center. It is also home to Chippewa Valley Hospital, a 25-bed acute care facility and Oakview Care Center, a 58-bed long-term care facility.
Wisconsin Conference History
The Seventh-day Adventist message was brought to Wisconsin in 1851 by H.S. Case and the first groups were organized at Hebron and Beloit. J.H. Waggoner and Waterman Phelps soon began ministries in southern Wisconsin. Their untiring efforts resulted in the formation of a large church territory known as the Illinois-Wisconsin Conference in 1863 which, for a time, included Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Camp meetings and tent evangelism were the main means of spreading the message, the first of which was held at Johnson Creek in 1867. Believer homes provided temporary accommodations for Adventists who were often on the road for several days to attend camp meetings.
John G. Matteson of Wisconsin, known as "The Apostle Paul of the Adventists," was successful in starting many churches among rural Scandinavians. by 1881, the number of Adventists in Wisconsin had passed 1,500.
The first Adventist elementary school on record in Wisconsin was opened in 1867 at Monroe, and the first secondary school, Bethel Academy, in 1899 near Arpin.
The early twentieth century saw further growth. In 1927, Camp Silver Lake in Portage was secured as a permanent ground for the annual camp meetings. In 1928, the Wisconsin Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was formed to serve the 3,100 members in 98 churches spread across the state
Wisconsin Academy was established in 1949 near Columbus, replacing Bethel Academy and Walderly School.
Summer camps for children and teens were held annual in various locations until 1962, when a permanent site, Camp Wahdoon, was purchased. When a new site was needed to replace the Camp Silver Lake camp meeting grounds in 1978, Camp Go-Seek was purchased to host both summer camps and the annual camp meetings. In 2001, the site was renamed Camp Wakonda.
In 2008, the Wisconsin church headquarters moved to a new conference office building in Fall River, providing space on the lower level for the Apple Valley Natural Food store and Adventist Book Center.