Located in Silver Spring, Maryland, since 1989, the church headquarters building, known as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, houses and supports the administration of one of the world’s fastest-growing denominations.
The church purchased 26 acres of land in 1969 as an option for their future needs. The land was part of a farm owned by Colonel Connelly and was outside of the major urban areas at the time. The old headquarters had been located in Takoma Park, Maryland, since 1904. But the growing needs of the church had resulted in a mix of old buildings, additions to buildings and newer buildings, all squeezed into what had become a crowded urban area. In addition, the street in front of the old General Conference building was the boundary between Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Consequently, some buildings had a Maryland address, while others were located in Washington, D.C.
All of this was solved with a single, modern building located on Connelly’s land eight miles north of the historic location. The opening took place in October 1989 and the retired Colonel Connelly cut the ribbon. His family still owns the property across from the General Conference.
This new headquarters encloses 300,000 square feet, houses nearly 800 employees and places all the departments and functions of the headquarters in one building. It features four levels, a light-filled atrium, a 590-seat auditorium, spacious cafeteria and plenty of meeting spaces for the committee functions of the church. It has become a much-visited tour destination for church members from around the world and the community is invited in for special meetings, concerts and events.
The General Conference building also houses the headquarters for the North American Division, one of the 13 world divisions and is home to several other church institutions, including the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA International), and Adventist Risk Management, the insurance company for the church.
For the thousands of visitors the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church receives each year, the Visitor’s Center provides a vibrant view of the worldwide family of more than 17 million Adventists.
Located near the main entrance of the headquarters building, the center explores the church through graphics, photographs and videos.
Inaugurated in 2003, the contemporary design comes from the creative mind of architect Ed Samuel, of Connecticut, a former professor of architecture at Yale University. An Adventist who also has numerous urban-renewal and community-oriented projects in his portfolio, Samuel brought to the Visitor’s Center project both a personal and a spiritual interest. His design incorporates symbols and meanings important to Adventists, including the concept of a global family united in Christ, looking for His promised second Advent.
The Visitor’s Center introduces the story of the Adventist Church to people who may not have encountered Adventism before, providing a level of interest to people of all ages and backgrounds. The self-exploring design of the exhibits enable visitors to browse at their own pace or to return at another time to continue the adventure. The Visitor Center is open every business day whenever the main building is open.
The center also functions as a reception area for distinguished guests of the Adventist world church. The dramatic lighting, hardwood floors and colorful exhibits provide a backdrop for meeting leaders of government, religion and the community who are often invited to interact with the president and other leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist community.
The General Conference building is open to the general public for one daily tour at 9 a.m., Monday through Thursday. The free 45-minute building tour explains the current activities of the church headquarters and several of its organizations, as well as artifacts and exhibits throughout the building.
Tours of the Ellen White Estate are available on the half hour, Monday through Thursday. White Estate tours feature original historic documents and memorabilia from one of the church founders.
The General Conference will not provide tours December 19 through January 7. Please visit us before or after the holiday season.
Those interested in visiting the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church can join the regularly scheduled tour Monday through Thursday at 9 a.m. Guests visiting during other times of the day are welcome to stop by the Ellen White Estate.
Visitors should be aware:
- The General Conference building and the Ellen White Estate are closed Fridays.
- There are no weekend tours.
- Reservations are required one week in advance for groups larger than 10.
- Groups of 10 or more who want to eat in the cafeteria will also need to make reservations and financial arrangements in advance with Food Service Management at the time the tour is booked.
For more information and to schedule a tour, call 301-680-6309.
We are less than half an hour from Washington D.C. on the corner of Route 29 and Randolph Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. From Interstate 95, take exit #33 (Route 198) and head west toward Burtonsville. Turn left on Route 29. When you get to the corner of Route 29 and Randolph Road, our building will be on the right–though you may not see it for the overpass. Bear right on the Randolph Rd exit and then turn left on Columbia Pike. The entrance to our parking lot is on the left.
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, Maryland, 20904
United States of America