J.N. Andrews Life Sketch

Prepared by Mervyn Maxwell and presented at the unveiling of the Legacy of Leadership Sculpture

Convinced in early youth that Jesus was returning soon, J.N. Andrews at the age of 17 embraced the seventh-day Sabbath and thereafter devoted his entire time and talents to the Seventh-day Adventist movement.

Andrews is best remembered as the first official Seventh-day Adventist missionary to work outside North America. This sculpture by Alan Collins depicts the dauntless Andrews family, pausing dockside in Boston, September 15, 1874, preparatory to sailing on the Cunard steamship Atlas, ready to depart for Liverpool on the way to Switzerland.  Andrews, still grieving the death of his wife Angeline two years earlier, departed as a 45-year-old single parent, accompanied by Charles, 16, and Mary, 12. The children proved to be extraordinary young pioneers, editing, translating, setting type, helping tirelessly to establish the international missionary journal, Les Signes des Temps (The Signs of the Times).

The foremost intellectual in the early Adventist movement, Andrews made significant contributions to the development of several doctrines, notably the Sabbath, tithing, sleep of the dead, church organization, and the noncombatant status of military draftees. He also served as the third president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (1867-1869). His example set in motion a tide of other missionaries, his History of the Sabbath persuaded thousands, and his journal gave birth to congregations on three continents.

It was to memorialize his commitment to scholarship and to the worldwide mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church that, in 1960, the Trustees chose the name Andrews University.

This little family's commitment challenges people of all ages, gender and position to lead lives of wholehearted service to church, community and the world.

John Nevins Andrews: July 22, 1829 to October 21, 1883
Charles Melville Andrews: October 5, 1857 to July 14, 1927
Mary Frances Andrews: September 29, 1861 to November 27, 1878