Seventh-Day Adventist Church Built: 1917
It is from the belief in the return of Christ, the second advent, that the word Adventist is derived. The words Seventh-Day which complete the church name, stem from observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath according to the fourth commandment (Exodus 20: 8-11).
The Fleetwood church had its beginning in 1880 when Mr. Amos Snyder, a Fleetwood area resident, returned from California where he had embraced Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs. Inspired to spread the teachings of Adventism, he held meetings in tents and school houses of the Fleetwood district. These meetings led to the organization of the Fleetwood church in 1884 by Elders Conradi and Sanborn with 14 charter members including: Solomon Brown and his wife Victoria; Abraham Heck; Samuel Gruber; Mrs. Samuel Hill; Amos Snyder; Henry Gauker and his wife; Griffith Scholl; and Mrs. Jacob Snyder. Before 1917, when the present building at 109 East Locust Street was erected under the leadership of Or. Avery Hansen, services were held in the homes of the members.
It is from this Fleetwood church, one of the oldest Seventh-Day Adventist Churches in the state, that the Hampden and Kenhorst Seventh-Day Adventist Churches sprang. At present there are 55 churches in the world. So it was with the founders of the Fleetwood church, for a church school was organized soon after the church was completed.
Until 1926, classes met in the rear of the church, but in that year the school was moved to Hampden Boulevard in Reading and later to Kenhorst Boulevard where it is presently located. Today it is known as the Reading Junior Academy, where grades 1-10 are taught. Students can attend grades 9-12 at Blue Mountain Academy located near Hamburg. This Adventist boarding school is highly respected throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
It is probably through the annual in gathering Appeal that the church is known best. This solicitous appeal for funds is made by all Seventh-Day Adventist Churches in the fall of each year. The funds are used solely to help relieve the distresses of people throughout the world. Specifically, allocations are made to establish Better Living Clinics which provide programs to stop smoking or drinking in addition to instruction in nutrition, health care, and other basics; to equip disaster vans for emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, floods, or tornadoes; to provide day care centers, camps for the blind, and schools and hospitals, such as the Reading Institute of Rehabilitation, a well-known Seventh-Day Adventist hospital in this area.