This Just In: The William Douglass and Charline F. Gunselman Papers Now Open for Research

Brady Cox is a graduate student who is completing an MA in church history. He has worked in Special Collections since January 2016. He joins us today to talk about a collection he recently processed.

We have recently organized and completed a finding aid for the William Douglass & Charline F. Gunselman Papers. This collection represents the activities of the Gunselman family while they served as missionaries in Manila, Philippines (1964-1972). This collection includes Gunselman’s correspondence with American churches and financial supporters, Filipino church leaders, and other missionaries in the Philippines and Southeast Asia (1962-1972). There are meeting minutes, financial information, and student records from the Philippine Bible College in Quezon City (1965-1972). The collection additionally includes surveys, research, and edited drafts of materials for Gunselman’s Ed.D. dissertation, “Status of the Ten Evangelical Bible Colleges in the Philippines with a Proposed Program for their Improvement,” which he received from Manuel L. Quezon University (1971).

Before becoming a missionary, William Douglass Gunselman taught in Florida and Pennsylvania and worked with churches in Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. While in the Philippines, Gunselman was instrumental in leading the educational efforts of the Churches of Christ in Manila. He started the Philippine Bible College of Quezon City and served as its director from 1965-1971. The school sought to train Filipino preachers and church leaders. The Gunselman’s efforts to train Filipino preachers occurred during the peak of postwar missionary activity among Churches of Christ. While their efforts with the school were not particularly unique among other Churches of Christ missionary endeavors, this collection provides archival evidence of a phenomenon (i.e., the creation and use of schools to train ministers) that occurred among Churches of Christ missionary efforts which has been noted, but has not been thoroughly researched.

Student leading singing while Gunselman (right) observes. William Douglass & Charline F. Gunselman Papers, 1942-2009, MS #389, Box 6, Folder 21, Center for Restoration Studies, Abilene Christian University.

There are also materials related to the Churches of Christ in Florida from when the Gunselmans lived in Florida before moving to the Philippines. Gunselman was involved with the Central Florida Bible Camp and he worked at the Christian Home and Bible School (Mount Dora, Florida). He compiled information for and produced a directory of the Churches of Christ in Florida in 1962. The directory includes a list of churches and a list of preachers, and this master copy includes Gunselman’s notes. The Gunselmans received much of their financial support from churches in Florida (including Concord Street Church of Christ and Sanford Church of Christ), and Gunselman often corresponded with friends and church leaders in Florida. Therefore, there is a significant amount of correspondence with church leaders in Florida.

This collection provides unique insight into Churches of Christ mission work in the Philippines following World War II, offers Filipino perspectives and voices through letters sent to Gunselman by church leaders and students, and includes research concerning Protestant Bible colleges in the Philippines. The Florida materials are intriguing as well, and provide a look into the context of the Florida churches during the 1960s and early 1970s.

For more information, please contact Special Collections Librarian and Archivist, Mac Ice, at mac.ice@acu.edu.

 

Mission Journal Digitization Project

Launched in 1967, Mission Journal was a forum for theological reflection on issues such as race, gender, war and peace-making, the place of the church in urban society, the nature and implications of Restorationism and critical Biblical and historical scholarship.

Mission, Volume 1, number 1, July 1967 front cover

Bob Turner, in his preface to this oral history project, describes Mission’s character as “unique—sort of Sojourners meets Village Voice meets MAD Magazine. It was smart enough to provoke a theologian but accessible enough to put on your coffee table; classic enough to attract intellectuals in the 1960s but avante garde enough to get picked up by a college kid a generation later. It was unquestionably the literary counterculture of Church of Christ periodicals for two decades.”

His oral history compiles reflections from some of the key persons involved in Mission from its founding to its closure in 1988: Dwain Evans, Don Haymes, Richard Hughes, Victor Hunter, Warren Lewis, and Thomas Olbricht.

Olbricht provides in this essay, New Journals for the Sixties: Restoration Quarterly and Mission, an extended reflection and assessment of the impact of these journals. Drawing from his deep insider involvement in Mission and from Abe Malherbe’s in Restoration Quarterly, Olbricht situates them within the journalistic, editorial, theological and historical contexts of the 1950s-1970s Churches of Christ.

Greg McKinzie conducted an interview session at the 2017 Christian Scholars’ Conference, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, dedicated to recording the stories of Dwain Evans, Vic Hunter, and Richard Hughes in the production of Mission Journal. Participants reflected on the motivations, hardships, and successes of publishing thoughtful, courageous content during a tumultuous time for the country and for Churches of Christ. What were the personal costs? How did the journal evolve and why? What would they do differently if they had it to do over? And what is the legacy of Mission for today? Listen here:

Digitization of Mission is underway.  Fully searchable and downloadable PDFs of every issue will be available at http://digitalcommons.acu.edu/missionjournal.  Mission on ACU DigitalCommons will contain the full run of the journal, from volume 1, number 1 issued in July 1967 to the final issue, volume 21, numbers 5-6, issued in December 1987-January 1988. This digital archive will ensure Mission is widely and easily available for historical research and continued reflection on the issues it raised and discussed.

The digitization initiative is led by Greg McKinzie, Executive Editor of Missio Dei Journal and Bob Turner, Librarian at Harding School of Theology in partnership with ACU Special Collections Librarian and Archivist Mac Ice.

For information on how you can contribute to this initiative, please see this page at Missio Dei Journal.

This Just In: British Stone-Campbell periodicals

Another cataloging project completed in the summer of 2017 was the addition of sixty-three bound volumes of rare nineteenth and early twentieth century British Stone-Campbell periodicals. This gift broadens and deepens the holdings of the Center for Restoration Studies in a significant way.  It affords greater opportunities for our students, faculty and patrons to research the British Stone-Campbell churches.   Besides their richness in local congregational news and personalia, these periodicals reprint many items from American Restorationist periodicals and carry forward these ideals in British context.  Thus they are a fine window into what of the American movement came back to England, how it was received there, and the invaluable detail of the evangelists and congregations.

The titles include:

Bible Advocate in 15 bound volumes covering most of the years from 1890-1907:

Bible Advocate, 1890-1907

British Millennial Harbinger, in 19 bound volumes covering almost all of 1851-1870:

British Millennial Harbinger, 1851-1863

Christian Advocate, (early series), in 7 bound volumes covering 1858 and much of 1875-1888:

Christian Advocate, 1858-1888

Christian Advocate (a later series), in 11 bound volumes covering 1925-29 and scattered years 1951-1963:

Christian Advocate, 1925-1963

Christian Messenger, in 3 bound volumes covering 1839-1841, 1847:

Christian Messenger, 1839-1847

Ecclesiastical Observer, in 8 bound volumes covering much of 1871-1876 and 1882-1886:

Ecclesiastical Observer, 1871-1886

These are held in the collection of Center for Restoration Studies and available for research.