billy graham center archives
2006 annual report

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Commissioned panel created by Tim Botts featuring the NIV rendering of 2 Peter 1:15: "And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things." (By rolling your cursor over the panel above, you will find an alternate view of the through the opened door where the panel welcomes visitors and staff who enter the Archives office).
The invitation to "remember these things" is not a command to dwell on the past for its own sake. Neither is it a way to avoid the responsibilities of the future. Rather, the ability to remember is a God-given resource for living in the present by learning from the past, while also planning and hoping for the future. This critical faculty is especially important for the Archives area of specialization: the spread of the good news about Jesus Christ. We were recently reminded of this in the reflections of a Filipino church leader on his own experience after visiting our Web site...

I am deeply overwhelmed while listening to my voice, some 40 years ago, now I am 76. My voice may have changed, but I thank the Lord for that prayer has remained in my heart, and has kept me refreshed with a renewed commitment to spread the message of Christ to a world that is in dire need of salvation in Christ in our Lord. Again, thank you my dear brother for sharing this prayer of His servant uttered some 40 years ago and is kept alive in cyberspace. My prayer is that as this prayer is heard, more and more of God's servants, especially those in the mass media will be renewed in their commitment to make Christ known through the modern means of communication that is now available in our hands.
E-mail from Filipino church leader, referring to the page from the Archives website that has links to audio files of many of the presentations given at the 1966 World Congress of Evangelism in Berlin, including his own prayer.

Our task as archivists, therefore, isn't to hoard precious items in order to revel in or romanticize the past. Instead, we nuture memory by gathering, arranging and describing, and encouraging the use of our collections because these resources become a guide to help us see clearly in the present and anticipate the future. These records of the past hopefully accurately reflect what happened, erasing neither the failures nor the achievements. When best able to help us remember, they show God's grace, human fallenness and need for renewal, and human participation in God's work.

The report that unfolds in the following pages is our accounting of our activity and oversight of the Archives during 2006. Below follow a few highlights with links to further information in other parts of the 2006 report or our website.

    Renovation of the 3rd floor Manuscripts Reading Room was completed. The 4th floor office remodeling was also finished. (A hidden surprise in the process was the development of additional storage space on the 3rd floor, answering one of our longstanding needs to provide for future collection development.) The Reading Room is now jointly staffed with archivists from Wheaton College's Archives & Special Collections, which now houses the Evangelism and Missions Collection (formerly the Billy Graham Center Library). The Archival Seminar Room was added, providing the site for sessions with classes, displays and other public events, and allowing uninterupted use of the Reading Room for research by patrons.

    Paul and Bob were invited to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Montreat Office in North Carolina to consult with the staff about records there. During their visit they also met with Rev. Billy Graham, not only world reknown evangelist and leader but the founder of the Archives.

    Bob developed the extensive online treasury of digitized documents, audio recordings and photographs from the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism held in Berlin.

    Staff arranged and described 16 collections, whether opened for the first time to researchers, or adding more material to existing collections for broadened access. Among these were the newly opened papers of musician-evangelists Louis and Phil Palermo and records of the BGEA's Telephone Counseling Ministry, Clyde Taylor papers and Harold John Ockenga collection, additions to Lausanne II Congress (1989) files to the Lausanne Committee records and the Harold Lindsell papers, along with an oral history with Armin Gesswein. Archivists also transcribed over four hours of oral interviews, adding these to the Archives' always-growing Web site resources.

    Under Bob's oversight, the microfilming of the Torrey Johnson Papers was completed.

    Staff welcomed and served 237 researchers to use the Archives collections in the Reading Room, led orientation on-site sessions for eighteen classes and presentations, responded to 1,223 information requests about the collection (72% by e-mail and 31 requests from the BGEA), and provided information, highlighted documents and exhibits through our Web site to 509,000 individuals in their 1.2 million visits.

    Bob described accounts of conversions in the Archives collections in his "That Was the Time I Got Coverted" to 150 alumni and others during the commencement weekend Treasures of Wheaton session.

    Staff for the first time permited use of digital cameras instead of the photocopier to make personal copies of documents and photographs.

We're glad you've come to browse through these and other highlights, along with more descriptions, pictures and statistics of what we've tackled and encountered in the past year.

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© Wheaton College 2007