From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
United Methodist creates Web resource for professors, students
10 Jun 1998 11:01:55
June 10, 1998 Contact: Tim Tanton*(615)742-5470*Nashville, Tenn.
By Robert Lear*
^From Bangor to Bangalore, mainline theological study materials now are
available to anyone with computer access to the Internet, thanks to a
communications specialist who is a United Methodist.
The Rev. William F. Fore, retired head of communications for the
National Council of Churches, was teaching at United Theological College
in Bangalore, India, when he realized how difficult it is for professors
there to have access to much of contemporary religious thought.
"It's almost impossible for faculty members to buy books," Fore said in
a telephone interview from his summer home in Estes Park, Colo. A full
professor where he taught has a maximum salary equaling about $300 a
month, and one volume easily can cost more than a tenth of that, plus
Fore managed to get a computer and log on to the Internet. As he
researched resources in the field of religion, most of what he found
represented what he considered poor scholarship.
When he returned to the United States, he created Religion Online, a Web
page intended to provide quality resources. More than 90 items are now
available at www.religion-online.org.
Fore hopes to have at least 200 items online by the end of 1998. In the
past two months, the Web page has drawn more than 400 hits.
Once printed out, the resources can be added to a professor's library or
duplicated and made available to students. Other intended users, Fore
said, "include students and just seekers here in America, but especially
in the poorer countries."
Materials on the Web page are either out of print or used with
permission of copyright holders, such as the Rev. John Cobb of the
Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology.
The Rev. James M. Wall, a United Methodist and editor of Christian
Century magazine, has authorized use of articles older than one year.
"A lot of really great material goes out of print in two or three
years," Fore said.
Topics covered in the items now on the Web page include biblical
studies, theology, ethics, pastoral care, homiletics, cultural studies,
missions, and church and society.
Eventually, Fore hopes to find "a modest amount" of grant money to widen
the scope of the project.
"No one will make any money out of this," he said, "but it seems to be
really meeting a religious need today."
# # #
*Lear is a retired staff member of United Methodist News Service
residing in Wernersville, Pa.
United Methodist News Service
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