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Columbia Board of Trustees Accepts COGA Proposal for Montreat Historical Collection

2005-12-06

Decatur, GA.— Columbia Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees has responded affirmatively to a proposal from the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) regarding the collection of the Montreat, NC, branch of the Presbyterian Historical Society. During a called meeting at Columbia on December 5, the Board authorized President Laura Mendenhall and a committee appointed by her to engage with COGA to create a program for the study of Presbyterian and Reformed history and theology pending final agreement on the materials to be transferred and full ecclesiastical resolution of all matters associated with the transfer. The Montreat facility houses an extraordinary collection of archival, library, and museum materials of Presbyterian history and the worldwide Reformed tradition. The collection includes a large manuscript division, a library of bound books, and a museum that contains material artifacts of 500 years of Reformed history. COGA’s proposal, received by the seminary in September, anticipates the Montreat facility’s closing in December 2006. According to the proposal, a sizeable portion of the collection would be moved to Columbia's John Bulow Campbell Library. In making its decision, the Board reviewed a faculty report on the collection’s educational value and assessed the financial effect on the seminary. The Board concluded that up to $1.7 million would be needed over the next five years to receive and catalog the collection and to make capital improvements to the library. Board members also considered the theological implications of their decision. Trustee James S. Lowry, who is also a Columbia graduate, said following the meeting, “When this Board faces a major decision, someone usually poses the question, ‘Is God asking us to do this?’ For this opportunity, we believe the answer is ‘yes.’” Columbia Theological Seminary, located in Decatur, Georgia, was established in 1828 and is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). 


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