“...A recently completed three-year renovation project gives
the Center many enhanced features that will prove helpful to students
and others interested in global Christianity in the 21st century...”
New exhibits and user-friendly interactive displays that focus on
world affairs and global Christianity beckon visitors to the Global Center
in Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. A recently completed
three-year renovation project gives the center many enhanced features
that will prove helpful to students and others interested in global Christianity
in the 21st century.
Whether it’s an obscure fact about an ancient Christian martyr,
or the current political climate in a modern-day hot spot, the information
is likely either included on a wall display or accessible on a website
on one of the center’s computers.
A goal of the renovation, says center director Dr. Mark Elliott, is to
highlight personal dimensions of the growth of the church worldwide and
the missionary effort supporting it. "For example, the new wall murals
featuring enlarged photographs and quotations of 25 missionaries are meant
not only to inform, but to inspire and even provoke us to stir from our
complacency,” said Elliott, who joined the Beeson faculty as center
director in 1999.
The displays highlight missionaries whose lives and work span five continents
and eight centuries. They range from the earliest, St. John Chrysostom
(347-407), who was a missionary in the Roman Empire, to Tokunboh Adeyemo
(1944- ), who serves in Nigeria.
Additional displays honor a half-dozen Christian martyrs of the 20th century,
one representing each inhabited continent. The six--Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
May Hayman, Bishop Haik Hovsepian-Mehr, Archbishop Janani Luwum, Romulo
Saune and Bill Wallace--are also honored in sculptured busts in the Divinity
School’s A. Gerow Hodges Chapel. During the next two years, each
will be honored in a series of chapel services inaugurated in November
with a lecture by Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orambi in honor of his
mentor and predecessor, Archbishop Luwum. The next lecture, on April 5,
will be presented by Rev. Robak Hovsepian-Mehr, brother of the late Bishop
Other Global Center displays feature memorabilia from the lives of celebrated
missionaries Lottie Moon, Peter Deyneka, Sr., Pandita Ramabai and Carl
Whirley, a Samford graduate who served many decades in Nigeria.
Informational exhibits on 21st century trends in global Christianity
illustrate the newest chapter in Christian history, which, according to
exhibit text, is expected to be the story of "a multi-hued majority
of believers south and east of the church’s former North Atlantic
center of gravity.”
The exhibits also highlight the growth of Christian renewal movements
associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the rise of Christianity
among the world’s poorest peoples, the large numbers of Christians
who continue to lose their lives for their faith each year, and the impact
that 21st century information technology will have on Christian endeavors.
CD-Roms and subscription-only websites unique to the Global Center offer
a variety of electronic resources. Anyone wanting to know the proper way
to greet a new acquaintance--or conversation topics to avoid--in any of
167 countries can tap into the Center’s CultureGrams CD-Rom. “It
can save a short-term missionary a lot of grief,” observes Elliott.
Being armed with the proper knowledge, he said, can be a “safety
valve” for any traveler who wants to avoid saying or doing the wrong
thing in a different culture.
A CountryWatch/ CountryWire program offers newspapers from around the
world. “This is especially useful for people wanting to research
the smaller countries,” said Elliott, noting, as an example, that
most libraries don’t have online access to Papua New Guinea’s
The six-foot diameter globe that has fascinated visitors of all ages since
the Global Center was opened in 1995 remains on display, as does the population
clock that shows the net global growth per second, births minus deaths.
The Global Center is open weekdays, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Church and school
groups are welcome. To schedule a guided tour, call (205) 726-2170 or
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