October 3, 2015
By LINDA COMINS Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
As Bethany College’s homecoming weekend began, the Disciples of Christ Historical Society broke ground for its new home on the college’s campus Friday.
The society is relocating its archives from Nashville, Tenn., to Bethany. The new building will adjoin the college’s Renner Visitor Center, next to the Campbell Study and Campbell Mansion, home of Alexander Campbell, founder of Bethany College and a founder of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The Rev. Dr. Todd Adams, the society’s interim president, said the one-story structure will include a gathering room, processing room, study carrels and archival storage area with 17,500 linear feet of shelving. As part of the new partnership, the college will move its extensive Campbell archives to the facility.
Adams said the building will have a “carriage house look.” At the rear, a fully accessible gathering patio will accommodate 60 people for events.
This move signifies a return to a place of origin and beginning for the society, Adams said. The complex will be used for “theological research and religious research to continue to tell the story of the Stone-Campbell movement,” he said.
Archie Jenkins, board chair of the society, said, “What we do today is tomorrow’s history. We are turning a new page in the history of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society by writing a new chapter.”
Sven de Jong, Bethany’s interim president, predicted the partnership will draw “scholars, historians and visitors to Bethany in even greater numbers.”
The Rev. Thaddaeus Allen, regional minister of the Christian Church in West Virginia and Pennsylvania and a society board member, said, “Alexander Campbell gathered important people and welcomed them into his home and offered hospitality … I’m excited for a future anchored in a beautiful past.”
The Rev. Dr. Peter Morgan, president emeritus of the society, said, “The new Disciples of Christ Historical Society is being planted in holy ground, the holy ground of Bethany.”
Speaking to college and church representatives present for the groundbreaking ceremony, Morgan said, “I ask that your prayers be that this society will claim for itself the heart of hospitality for all who come seeking.”