What is Special Collections? (And why is it locked up?)
by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian
In 2013, Special Collections hosted the Living Word exhibition of ancient Biblical manuscripts.
The University Library’s Special Collections & Archives are a treasure trove of unique primary source materials and artifacts. Researchers have travelled from all over the United States and Great Britain to unlock the secrets of our vault.
Although the Library’s Special Collections is becoming an important destination for 20th Century Christian history research, the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey suggests that most students are unaware of Special Collections. Here are two of the comments we received:
- “I have not used this service.”
- “What is Special Collections? Isn’t that the area that’s always closed off and unavailable?”
Dr. Maiden examining the Dennis Bennett papers in Special Collections.
From July 28 through August 4, the Library hosted a visiting scholar from Britain. John Maiden, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University in Milton Keynes, came to Regent to examine documents in the Rev. Dennis J. Bennett archive, housed in the Library’s Special Collections. Dr. Maiden is working on a book on the Charismatic and Renewal movements during the 1960s and 1970s within the historicmainline denominations in the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Bennett archive in the Library occupies a crucial part of this history, since the beginning of the Charismatic movement is often marked by the date April 3, 1960, when Reverend Bennett announced from his pulpit at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California that he had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and had spoken in tongues.
At the end of his visit to the Library, Dr. Maiden thanked Special Collections assistants Donald Gantz and Yabbeju (Jabez) Rapaka for all their help in making his stay a success. The Library is pleased to have been able to assist Dr. Maiden in his research.
Written by Sara Baron, Ed.D., Dean of the University Library
You may have read about the Charismatic movement in your classes or heard about it in your church. Perhaps you have even been blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But there was a time in America when people did not celebrate these gifts or talk about them. The Charismatic movement in mainstream Christian churches began in the late 1950s and consisted of people manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit out in the open. Two great leaders of the movement are being honored by Regent University on October 24, 2013.
Rev. Dr. Dennis J. Bennett is considered by many the “first Charismatic.” His brother-in-law, Dr. William Standish Reed, is considered by many the “first medical evangelist.” The archives of both men reside at the Regent University Library. The Rev. Dennis J. Bennett Papers and the William Standish Reed, M.D. Collection will be dedicated and celebrated on this day with a number of speakers, video tributes, remarks from their spouses, Dr. Rita Bennett and Mrs. Jo Ann “Coppi” Reed, and an exhibit of artifacts from their archives. Speakers include Dr. Vinson Synan, Visiting professor of Church History, who will discuss the history of the Charismatic movement and the importance of Rev. Bennett in its earliest days. Dr. Kimberly Alexander, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, will discuss the Charismatic movement’s emphasis on healing and the Holy Spirit and how Dr. William Standish Reed was instrumental in spreading the Word as a prominent medical doctor. Video clips of both men during the heights of their ministries will be shared along with video tributes from Stephen Strang, founder and editor of Charisma magazine; John and Elizabeth “Tib” Sherrill, writers and historians from the Charismatic movement; and Kenneth Copeland, Pentecostal leader and friend of both men.
Regent University Founder and Chancellor Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson will offer remarks and formally dedicate the archival collections. As the Charismatic movement receives more and more attention from historians of Christianity, this event is a wonderful opportunity to hear about and from people who lived during the origins of the movement, people who shaped the movement, and people who, above all, shared the Good News of Christ with others. We hope you can join us for this wonderful event!
Thursday, October 24, 2013 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm
Regent University Library Gallery
RSVP Stephanie Lowell, 757-352-4185 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit the Archives Dedication webpage.