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'Father of modern missions' William Carey subject of
namesake college's new website
Founders want to 'democratize' study of materials on legendary missionary
By Kathie Chute
William Carey College,
Hattiesburg, MS (BP)--Myron Noonkester and Bennie Crockett admit they've always been fascinated by William Carey.
Called "the father of modern missions," Carey is somewhat of an enigma, Noonkester said, because information about him is difficult to come by. The two men got on the Internet one year ago July and began acquiring materials related to Carey. That effort has resulted in the Center for Study of the Life and Work of William Carey, accessible through the Internet.
"When this project was conceived last summer," Noonkester explained, "we had no idea where it would take us."
Crockett added, "A lot of information has not been dealt with effectively. We want to make it available for anyone interested in studying William Carey. So far, we've made quite a few of the current resources available on the website."
Noonkester is professor of history and interim dean of the school of arts, humanities, and sciences at William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss. He is the son of former William Carey College president J. Ralph Noonkester.
Crockett is professor of religion and philosophy and the college's vice president of institutional effectiveness and planning.
The website was officially announced in March and contains many of the resources obtained for the center. About 60 percent of the material has been acquired through the Internet. Other information has been donated or purchased through bookstores.
So far, acquisitions include rare books, maps, articles, portraits and artifacts.
When someone logs on to the website, they don't view only the text from the books and articles. They see images of actual pages.
"We decided to put what we have up on the web," Noonkester said. "Most institutions are very proprietary about their holdings. We want to democratize the study of William Carey."
William Carey was a cobbler and a minister in England before going to India as a missionary. He died there in 1834.
"We'll probably never acquire the materials related to Carey's life in England," Noonkester continued. "They're very protective about him there. However, we do believe we can put together a fairly large amount of information about Carey's life in India.
"So far we've been pretty successful."
Noonkester and Crockett agree that acquiring information has been time consuming and demanding, between keeping track of online auctions, setting up the website and scanning the documents themselves to upload.
"Since we began the project," Crockett admitted, "it's taken on a momentum that surprised both of us."
Internet users from all over the world have logged on to the site since it became available. Recently, the Asian Studies Monitor gave it a 5-Star "Essential" rating, the highest the publication awards.
The website is located at www.wmcarey.edu/carey/index2.html.
In the future, the center will be housed on the second floor of Carey's new learning resources center, where visitors will be able to view items on display. The building currently is in the planning stages.
Created: July 19, 2001 Updated: August 23, 2001