Over the years, I’ve visited the World Methodist Museum in North Carolina multiple times. I enjoyed perusing the artifacts of early Methodism and seeing documents that John Wesley penned and items that he might have touched. For a fan of Methodist history, this wonderful museum made history come alive.
I was saddened to hear the announcement, several week ago, that the Museum would close. My sadness turned to hope, however, when I learned that the World Methodist Council (which operated the Museum) was looking for a location for their extraordinary collection. I could only dare to imagine that Bridwell Library and Perkins School of Theology would be its new home. Last week, we received the wonderful news that Bridwell Library will be the recipient of the Museum’s collection in its entirety.
We are thrilled by this marvelous opportunity but also humbled by the great trust it evidences. We take the stewardship of these remarkable materials very seriously.
I have often said that Perkins is “An Academy for the Whole Church in the Whole World.” The holding of this collection puts us in a unique position and gives us a unique responsibility to be of particular service to pan-Methodist, pan-Wesleyan churches throughout the world. Wesley Studies has always been a strong point of Perkins, and this gift creates new and undreamed-of prospects for its future. I can scarcely contain my enthusiasm as I brainstorm with others about the possibilities for making Wesley Studies even more central to our mission. I am also delighted to make this resource available to all, as Wesley himself surely would have wanted.
Read the news release about this exciting news, here. To quote the CEO of the World Methodist Council, this is a great moment in Methodism. I’m proud to witness this moment, and thrilled that the Perkins community is part of this incredible effort to keep Methodist history alive.