Pastor donates Georgia Methodist history collection to college

Pastor donates Georgia Methodist history collection to college

When the Rev. Dr. Harold Lawrence retires from the ministry this summer, he will leave behind a treasure trove of research about Georgia Methodist history, material he’s been gathering since 1974.

Wanting to find the perfect home for his collection, he turned to the Frank and Laura Lewis Library.

“I’m heading into the oblivion of retirement and I didn’t want to take all of this with me and safeguard it in my old age,” he said with a smile. “It’s great to have a place to share it and have it utilized beyond my use of it.”

Pastor donates Georgia Methodist history collection to collegeDr. Lawrence will preach his final sermon at LaGrange First United Methodist Church on Sunday. He has served the United Methodist Church for 45 years, the final 11 years in LaGrange, making him the longest serving minister at the church.

On June 10, Dr. Lawrence was honored with a reception at the library to celebrate his gift. An exhibition of his research and artifacts from Georgia Methodist history will be on display in the library’s lobby until July 7.

During the ceremony, he expressed his gratitude to President Dan McAlexander and the college.

“It’s just my pleasure to put it somewhere where it will not only be housed but hopefully utilized by students, faculty and others long past my tenure,” he said. “I am humbled to have a place for this to be kept.”

Dr. Lawrence’s collection includes materials he’s gathered from Emory University, Epworth by the Sea, Wofford College in South Carolina, Methodist churches across the state and other sources. It includes approximately 300 volumes and pamphlets.

“These things have been very useful research tools, but this is more than just a collection of various books,” he said. “None of the institutions I mentioned have all of these things. I think now LaGrange College has a collection to rival all of the others.”

One of his earliest projects was tracing Methodist preachers in Georgia beginning in 1773 and going through the 1950s and ‘60s. That list has been entered into a database and will be available on a compact disc.

The collection also includes primary sources such as microfilmed church minutes, conference proceedings and women’s missionary society minutes. It also has microfilm of such Methodist newspapers as the Christian Advocate dating back to 1826 and the Wesleyan Christian Advocate dating back to 1878.

The sheer volume of Dr. Lawrence’s gift is tremendous, said Charlene Baxter, Library Co-Director.

the Rev. Dr. Harold Lawrence “We have about 30 boxes of material in our Technical Services area,” said Charlene Baxter, Library Co-Director. “The inventory for Dr. Lawrence’s collection is 47 pages long. It even includes a copy of an 1858/59 LaGrange Female College catalog.”

Baxter said she expects the collection will be of interest to the college’s history and religion students and faculty, and to outside researchers.

“As an institution with a very, very long and deep connection to the Methodist church, we are very appreciative to Dr. Lawrence for entrusting us with his lifelong research.”

President McAlexander said the college and community owe Dr. Lawrence many debts of gratitude.

“Harold is a remarkable gentleman of many, many talents – a great writer, wonderful sermon-giver and terrific pastor to his flock,” he said. “He has given great service to this town, certainly to First Methodist Church, to this college as a member of our board and to our students who have eaten thousands of meals (at the church) on Wednesday nights.

“But we are especially grateful for this gift,” he said. “It is a gift not only to the college, but also to Methodism in the state of Georgia.”

In the Headlines

Speaker: Focus on selfless leadership – LaGrange Daily News, May 25, 2015

Carrying on the tradition – LaGrange Daily News, June 14, 2015

Busy summer for Panthers – LaGrange Daily News, June 14, 2015

New Sims Nursing Scholarship recipients announced – LaGrange Daily News, June 16, 2015

LaGrange College to launch counseling master’s program this fall – LaGrange Daily News, June 1, 2015 (also appeared in Valley Times-News)

July Birthdays

1 John Cook
2 Carol Yin
3 Arya Alami
8 Amanda Kellogg
9 Lindsey Lowry
Mary Skandalakis
10 Kim Barber Knoll
Imann Rollins
14 Heather Miller
18 Mariangela Vecchiarini
20 Joseph Strickland
21 Catherine Proctor
25 Sharon Livingston
Joseph Miller
Randy Colvin
27 Jon Ernstberger
28 Jackie Belcher
Stacie McClanahan
29 April McArdle


Head Golf Coach Lee Richter
Head Golf Coach Lee Richter
has been named Region Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America in conjunction with Golf Pride Grips. This season Richter led the second-ranked Panthers to their second straight USA South conference championship and eighth appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, where they finished as runners-up. Earlier, he was named the USA South Coach of the Year and as one of five finalists for the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year Award.

10 More Days!
We’re getting down to the wire and we need your help. Only 10 more days left to give to the LaGrange College Fund for this fiscal year. Here’s your opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life. Your contribution, no matter the size, gives students a chance to achieve their dreams of a college education.  Visit to make your gift – and thank you.

Education student Hayley LaFountaine
, left, works with campers Ontaria Bridges, John Joo and Harry Ryu on their special car. More than 50 rising fifth-eighth grade students are participating in this summer’s Learn2Serve camp with its theme of conservation. Campers have been designing cars powered by gravity, creating public service announcements to reinforce the importance of conservation and testing soil and water samples. A trip to the landfill also is planned, where students will learn more about what happens to garbage and the impact it has on the environment. The camp continues through June 26.

Music students Jalen Smith and Kelsey Seals
Music students Jalen Smith and Kelsey Seals recently met Broadway star Linda Eder while attending the Command Performance Broadway Intensive Workshop at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. This two-week educational camp is designed to develop Broadway-style vocal, dance and dramatic skills in a performance-based environment.

Dr. John Tures, Professor of Political Science, appeared on HuffPost Live TV earlier this month. He was asked to talk about the June 7 elections in Turkey. Watch it here.

Dr. Charles Kraemer, Professor of Psychology, participated as a reader in the 2015 in the 2015 AP Psychology reading in Louisville, Ky.  He said this year, 400 readers scored more than 280,000 tests with two essays on each test, and that psychology now is one of the larger AP subjects, based on the number of tests given each year. Dr. Kraemer has been a reader since 2000.

Josh Roberts, Director of Bands, continues to hold auditions for the college’s first marching band. He said he will schedule an audition at any time for any student interested. Musicians will be required to play four scales and the LC fight song. Roberts will provide an electronic copy of the fight song upon request. For more information about auditions and a $500 per semester participation grant, contact Roberts at or by calling (404) 444-7987.

Summer orientation
Session III of summer orientation
will be July 9-10. Be sure to welcome everyone to campus.