Baptist History and Heritage Society to Relocate to Mercer's Atlanta Campus

February 23, 2007

Mercer Contact: Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037
Society Contact: Charles Deweese
(615) 371-7938

MACON, Ga./BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Mercer University and the Baptist History and Heritage Society announced today that Society offices will relocate to Mercer’s Atlanta campus in July. The Society’s Board of Directors approved the move in a unanimous vote.

The Baptist History and Heritage Society’s move comes on the heels of the American Baptist Historical Society’s decision last September to consolidate and relocate its vast archival collections to the University’s Administration and Conference Center, located on the Atlanta Campus. Both relocations are major steps in the University’s aspiration to become a national center for Baptist scholarship.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our organization, and we would like to thank Mercer University for its invitation,” said Society Executive Director Charles Deweese. “As an independent Baptist historical society, we are focused on helping Baptists of all traditions to conserve and share their heritage. We concentrate on gathering, publishing interpreting and communicating Baptist history for historians and lay people, so we rely on good libraries and good archives. The American Baptist Historical Society’s archives, combined with the resources of Mercer University, make our new location ideal.” 

“We are very pleased to host the Baptist History and Heritage Society on our Atlanta campus,” said Mercer University President William D. Underwood. “The Society has a rich tradition of educating Baptists and non-Baptists on the denomination’s heritage and contributions to our country and our world. Their presence on our campus will further strengthen Mercer’s Baptist identity.”

Founded in 1938, the Society is currently located in the Baptist Center of the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Brentwood, Tenn. The Society has more than 800 members throughout the United States and in 15 foreign countries. Dedicated to helping “Baptists discover, conserve, assess and share their history,” the Society focuses on publishing information on Baptist history. The organization produces a journal, newsletter, pamphlet and booklet series, books, and other resources.

The Society began as the Southern Baptist Historical Society, an auxiliary of the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The Society voted to become an independent Baptist history organization when the SBC decided in 1995 to eliminate the Commission. The Society changed its name in 2001 to reflect its expanded purpose as a resource for all Baptists.

Deweese says the prospect of working on Mercer’s Atlanta campus – already home to the University’s McAfee School of Theology, the national office of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and, soon, the American Baptist Historical Society – is very exciting.

“President Underwood is creating on Mercer’s Atlanta campus what will likely become the center for the intellectual study of Baptists in the world,” Deweese said. “In addition, the opportunity to come to Mercer and learn from the other entities that are there has extraordinary appeal to our board, our members and the staff. We are looking forward to the move.”

About the Baptist History & Heritage Society:
The mission of the Baptist History and Heritage Society is to help Baptists discover, conserve, assess, and share their history. Organized in Richmond, Va., in 1938, as the Southern Baptist Historical Society® and originally chartered in Kentucky, the society was rechartered in Tennessee in 1952 as an auxiliary to the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1995, the SBC decided to eliminate the commission. The Society became an independent Baptist history organization. In 2000, the Fellowship of Baptist Historians was created as an auxiliary to the society and has since held an annual meeting in connection with the society’s meeting. In 2001, the society changed its name to Baptist History and Heritage Society.  In 2005, the Society adopted a set of plans for 2006-2009 to help Baptists celebrate their 400th anniversary.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
www.mercer.edu.
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