Conference President

Colcord, William Allan

1902

Born in the United States in 1860, William Colcord attended the first Seventh-day Adventist school, Battle Creek College, Michigan, USA. He began his ministry in Iowa in 1886 where he served for two years. In 1888 he was transferred to the General Conference office to carry out editorial work. He continued in that role for about four years during which he developed an interest in the area of religious liberty. In 1893 Colcord was sent to Australia for editorial and administrative work.

It would appear that there was a direct link between Colcord’s interest in religious liberty matters and his appointment to Australia. The last decade of the nineteenth century in Australia included two religio-political controversial issues: first, the enforcement of Sunday Laws and, second, the Bible in Schools controversy. As a consequence, between 1894 and 1902 William Colcord wrote a series of tracts on these matters and authored a book, The Rights of Man, in which he argued the basic principles of civil and religious liberty. A complimentary copy of this book was sent to every colonial politician.

In 1902 William Colcord served as the third president of the Queensland Conference. Why he was selected for this leadership role is not clear for there were no apparent religious liberty issues specific to Queensland. One possible answer is that it was known he planned a return to the United States in 1903 and his appointment was a stop-gap solution for both Queensland and Colcord.

Upon his return to America, Colcord taught at Union College, Nebraska (1903-04) and then worked in the Religious Liberty department of the General Conference from 1904 to 1910. He died in 1935.

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