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Episode 44: Madison College & ASI

Adam Ramdin
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Adam Ramdin

Youth Director for the North England Conference of SDA


  • May 1, 2019
    3:30 PM
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In 1939 Ripley's Believe It Or Not wrote about the school in Madison Tennessee and included its amazing story in that long list of unbelievable things they reported that it was the only college in America that was self-supporting meaning it operated without external funds income or endowments the remarkable story goes back to 1904 when Percy team again and a Sutherland started a school that was a Ridgeley called the Nashville agricultural and normal Institute. Here in Madison Tennessee just 10 miles north of Nashville one of America's most remarkable and innovative schools started be a Sutherland and Percy McGann resigned their jobs from Emmanuel missionary college and moved down to work in the South in 1904 they were here on the Cumberland River with Ella white on the morning star boat when it suddenly broke down Ella White and Mr Palmer went ashore and saw 412 acre farm that was for sale it was overgrown full of stone and rundown but Ellen White commented that she has seen the place in a vision and thought they should purchase it the to teach as a subtle and Percy McGann were dismayed for they did not think the place looked promising a toll but they decided to trust the wisdom of Ellen White and moved ahead and purchased the property it began its 1st term with 11 students but quickly grew and Ella White's guidance the educational philosophy of the school was established. Madison sought to educate the whole person body mind and soul instilling in students a spirit of self-sacrifice service and a love of the simple frugal life using the large property that I have students worked on the land ensuring that they could pay their way through making it a self-supporting institution if students did not have enough money they were not turned away but encouraged to work their way through school the teachers did not have high paying salaries and staff and students would work together every day for 5 hours. The focus of Madison was to be different athletics and sports programs were not included but instead there was a strong emphasis on mission work the purpose was to train self-supporting domestic and foreign missionary workers and teach us the education given at the Madison school is such as will be accounted a treasure of great value by those who take up missionary work in foreign fields if many more in other schools were receiving a similar training we as a people would be a spectacle to the world to angels and cement. As Madison expanded it began to plan satellite schools and institutions all across the country by 1914 there were 40 schools with a 1000 students in 1947 be self-supporting entities form the association of 7th Day Adventists self-supporting institutions or a a site once a year they would meet at Madison for a self-supporting work as Convention laying the foundation for the annual convention that continues to this day in 1979 the name. Changed to reflect a more diverse membership to Adventist Lehmann's services and industries and it is a powerful mission driven organization that has been responsible for some great projects over the years. Unfortunately the school would sadly closed in 1964 and the reasons are complex and many Madison pioneered the self-supporting work not to be confused with independent ministries Ellen White spoke strongly in favor of the self-supporting work saying in the book Welfare Ministry paid sick people there was a large field open before the self-supporting gospel worker self-supporting work was and is to work harmoniously with the organized work and the collaboration between these 2 entities to make the gospel work doubly effective.


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