The Seventh-day Adventist Church[a] is a Protestant Christian denomination which is distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the seventh day of the week in Christian and Jewish calendars, as the Sabbath, and its emphasis on the imminent Second Coming (advent) of Jesus Christ. The denomination grew out of the Millerite movement in the United States during the mid-19th century and it was formally established in 1863. Among its founders was Ellen G. White, whose extensive writings are still held in high regard by the church.
Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to common Protestant Christian teachings, such as the Trinity and the infallibility of Scripture. Distinctive teachings include the unconscious state of the dead and the doctrine of an investigative judgment. The church is known for its emphasis on diet and health, its “holistic” understanding of the person, its promotion of religious liberty, and its conservative principles and lifestyle.
The world church is governed by a General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, with smaller regions administered by divisions, union conferences, and local conferences. It currently has a worldwide baptized membership of over 20 million people, and 25 million adherents. As of May 2007, it was the twelfth-largest religious body in the world, and the sixth-largest highly international religious body. It is ethnically and culturally diverse, and maintains a missionary presence in over 215 countries and territories. The church operates over 7,500 schools including over 100 post-secondary institutions, numerous hospitals, and publishing houses worldwide, as well as a humanitarian aid organization known as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).