Library special collections offer rich resource

On ACU’s campus, the Margaret and Herman Brown Library is a place to learn, study, relax and fellowship. For Jeremy Hegi, the library is the perfect resource for an extensive research project on the contextualization of Christianity.

There is just a culture that exists here of encouraging all students to pursue their academic interests and participate in the scholarly discussions of their particular discipline.

Jeremy, a student in the Graduate School of Theology, has always had an interest in how Christianity adapts to certain cultures and contexts - morphing to fit social and cultural norms. His research led him to discover the work of Don Carlos Janes (1877-1944), an early 20th-century Churches of Christ missions advocate.

An overlooked figure

While Jeremy was researching Janes' history, he discovered the man's ideas and thoughts had been essentially left out of Churches of Christ history, largely due to his controversial views about the end times. Jeremy had found the perfect topic for his master's thesis.

Jeremy earned his Master of Divinity in 2009. His thesis project about Janes served as his capstone project for his Master of Arts in Missions, which he will complete in May 2012. He believes the resources afforded to him by the Brown Library have been critical in his pursuit of two master's degrees.

"The Brown Library has so much to offer - from the Stanley Reading Room, Center for Restoration Studies (CRS), the New Learning Studio, to all of the electronic and web resources it provides - the library is a treasure trove of information and help for students and faculty here at ACU," Jeremy says.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M, and one of the first things he noticed about ACU's library was the availability and eagerness of the staff to assist students in whatever way they could. Jeremy himself now works for the library, helping library dean Dr. John Weaver research ways to connect religious heritage with religious renewal.

Rich historical resources

In addition to the helpful staff, Jeremy believes his thesis work would have been impossible without the resources available in the Center for Restoration Studies. For Jeremy, the vast information about the history of the Churches of Christ was vital for his project.

"The CRS was perfect for my needs because it gave me access to countless periodicals, books, debates, biographies and even rare correspondence," he says. "Needless to say, it would have been impossible for me to complete my project, let alone even begin working on it, had the CRS and its resources not been available for my use. The CRS and Special Collections are probably some of the most important, but perhaps underused, departments in the library."

Jeremy is undecided about the next chapter in his life. He is considering earning a doctorate degree in church history. He will spend a portion of 2012 in Thailand serving as missionary. No matter which way he chooses, Jeremy knows his time at ACU has helped him grow academically, leaving him confident he can tackle whatever comes his way.

"There is just a culture that exists here of encouraging all students to pursue their academic interests and participate in the scholarly discussions of their particular discipline," Jeremy says. "Here the encouragement, guidance and personal touch from the faculty and staff of ACU for students to participate in various research projects is a tremendous asset and advantage that ACU has to offer over other colleges and universities in Texas."

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