BETHANY, W.Va. – The Disciples of Christ Historical Society broke ground at Bethany College, the society’s new home, on Friday, Oct. 2.
The archives are currently housed in Nashville, Tennessee, but will soon be moved to Bethany. The building will be part of the Campbell Mansion and Renner Visitor Center complex, adjacent to the College’s campus.
Bethany College’s history makes it an ideal location for the archives, said Sven de Jong, the College’s interim president. The College was founded in 1840 by Alexander Campbell, a leader of the Stone-Campbell Movement, which led to the founding of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The archives hold artifacts, records and documents from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Stone-Campbell churches. The College will move its extensive Campbell archives to the facility.
Rev. Dr. Todd Adams, Interim President of the Historical Society, called the move to Bethany “a homecoming for the Disciples.”
“By working in partnership with Bethany College, the Society will expand its global reach to the Stone-Campbell movement, increase support services for long-term researchers, and house the collection in a modern and efficient archival facility,” Adams said.
De Jong added that the building “will bring scholars, historians and visitors to Bethany in even greater numbers.”
“Those who have visited us before, or have benefited from the Campbell holdings that we already have, will now find unique, comprehensive opportunities to study our heritage and to reflect on its significance,” he said.
Dr. Peter Morgan, a 1961 Bethany graduate and president emeritus of the Historical Society, provided remarks to those in attendance. He also gave remarks on behalf of Evelyn and Rev. Dr. Harold Watkins ’50, former Historical Society board member and Church Extension President Emeritus, respectively. Marsha Peters Smith ’73, Historical Society board member, presented the Litany of Dedication.
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.