Yes, we are still accepting books at our Richmond office to ship to Friends Theological College! And, yes, we can still use volunteers to help sort and pack the books!
Did you miss the news? We’re collecting books to help stock the libraries of Friends Theological College. So far, we have catalogued over 4,000 unique titles. We have far more than 4,000 books to ship, however; we are shipping multiple copies of some books. This will help us stock all six libraries at Friends Theological College, at their main campus at Kaimosi and their satellite campuses at Lugulu, Kitale, Lugari, Nairobi, and Samburu. Extra copies of some titles will also facilitate their use as textbooks, sharing the books between fewer students.
Additionally, FTC has a bookstore where any unneeded books can be sold to benefit the college. There is a tremendous hunger for Quaker literature, and very little is available for purchase in East Africa. Books that aren’t a good fit for the college will be well-loved in Quaker churches and families.
Eden Grace, Director of Global Ministries, describes the experience of watching donated books come in as “exhilarating! The generosity of people who have driven, sometimes for days, to get vans of books to us… the excitement among retired pastors who know that the commentaries they no longer need will be put to good use… the fun of opening boxes and discovering treasures inside… the number of old books that we've gotten, that will connect students at FTC with the generations of Friends that came before them… all of it is exhilarating.”
Speaking of old books: when volunteers started the sorting process, they discovered a number of books with Rufus Jones’ personal signature inside. These books were donated by Haverford College, and represent a portion of Jones’ personal library; the books he was reading as he was writing his classic Quaker works. Students at FTC will have access to an important slice of Quaker history when this shipment arrives.
Eden also highlights the books of Memorial Minutes that have been donated, for how their presence at FTC connects Friends through time and around the globe. One Memorial that caught Eden’s eye was of a woman named Louisa Maw who died in 1828, at the age of 21. Friends produced an entire book about her ministry and leadership among Friends. It’s extraordinary just to be part of a tradition where a woman can be seen as a minister and a leader at such a young age, and where all kinds of ministry and leadership are known to be worthy of documenting and sharing. Louisa’s story will be explored and celebrated in East Africa, where Friends are well-acquainted with God’s surprising ways of using young women in ministry.
We can accept books in any of the following topics: Quakerism, Theology, Bible, Religious Education, Church History, Homiletics, World Religions, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Pastoral Care, Community Development, Peace and Social Justice, Conflict Transformation, and general reference books such as dictionaries and atlases. We are covering the costs to ship them within North America, and partnering with an organization like the Theological Book Network or Books For Africa to handle international shipping. If you’d like to make a donation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.