Andrew F. Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The Andrew F. Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity is a specialist resource intended for those engaged in the study of Christian history, thought and life in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, and in the overseas Diasporas from those continents. Missions from the West have had a part in the African and Asian Christian story, and this collection has substantial holdings on the history of mission and missionary activity in other parts of the world, as well as on mission theology and practice, other faiths, and the history of religions. The collection also includes many volumes on the historical, political, economic, social and religious background and context of African and Asian Christianity making it valuable also for a range of studies in history and religions. Religious literature published in Africa and Asia, not often collected by British institutions, forms a major feature of this collection.

Professor Andrew Walls has actively collected most of these materials himself over the last five decades, in addition to donations from the University of Edinburgh (Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World) and the University of Aberdeen. The Butler Collection of Non-Western Christian Art contains the art library of the late Dr John F. Butler, one of the first serious studies of Christian art in Asia, Africa and Latin America, together with his personal papers and a number of slides, artistic and architectural. This collection also includes works of art from Africa and Asia.

The Centre’s collection is augmented by valuable gifts notably from Rev. Dr. George Hood, late of the Selly Oak Colleges, of works on China and Southeast Asia, and from the Brothers Hofmeyr, Prof. J. W. (Hoffie) Hoymeyr and Mr. G. S. (George) Hofmeyr. Prof. Hoffie Hofmeyr of the University of Pretoria has donated about 400 books on South African history, Christianity, traditional religions, culture and modern life. Likewise, Canon Daniel O’Connor has gifted the Centre with a large number of books on Christian Ecumenism, Church Union Movements in India, the works of a few European mission agencies, world religions (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam), and famous personalities (e.g., Gandhi). More recently the Centre has benefitted from the archives and book collection of Mrs M. E. Cecilia Irvine and a donation of books by Mr. R. Ross Noble.

The Centre actively collects religious literature – scholarly and popular, mainstream and marginal, official and informal, periodicals and pamphlets – pertaining to African and Asian Christianity. There are many thousands of pamphlets and ephemera from many different countries and in many languages, a large number not being known in any other collection. The periodicals, when the remainder of the material at present in Edinburgh and Aberdeen is received, will include four thousand titles, with complete sets and long runs of material not easy to find in other libraries. The Ida Grace McRuer Collection, transferred from Winnipeg Theological Seminary, is without parallel in Britain in its coverage of North American missions, and there is much rare material from Africa and Asia.

The collection currently contains:

  • Over 5,000 catalogued books
  • Significant holdings of over 150 scholarly journals with additional short runs, relevant magazines of organisations and churches and one-off copies of other titles
  • Significant holdings of up to 600 relevant magazines (including magazines of organisations and churches) and short runs and one-off copies of many other titles
  • Material about relevant organisations and churches including reports, newsletters, brochures and other grey literature
  • The Church Missionary Society Archive on microfilm
  • The Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society Archive on microfiche (mainly covering West Africa)

Administrative / Biographical History

The Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity is named after the most distinguished Professor Andrew F. Walls, Professor of History of Missions at Liverpool Hope University. His missionary experiences in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, his teaching experiences at the universities in Aberdeen and Edinburgh and in many other Euro-American, African and Asian institutions of higher learning, and his lectures in mission conferences in numerous countries shape his perception and interpretation of Christianity. He has contributed immensely to the study of World Christianity.Prof. Walls’ award-winning publications include The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith (1996) and The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History (2005). In 2011, Orbis Books honoured Professor Andrew Walls by publishing the book entitled Understanding World Christianity: The Vision and Work of Andrew F. Walls.

Conditions Governing Access

Please consult the Visitors information webpage concerning access for external visitors. The archives and special collections are available for consultation by special appointment only. To arrange an appointment please email Special Collections. Allow at least 24 hours’ notice. Please note that, in line with other archives and special collections, we require personal identification, and may, in some circumstances, ask you to provide references from your research supervisor or other suitable person or body.

Acquisition Information

The Andrew F. Walls Centre was officially opened in The Sheppard-Worlock Library in May 2008.

Other Finding Aids

The collection can be found on the Library Catalogue.

Archivist's Note

Created by Karen Backhouse (Special Collections Librarian, The Sheppard-Worlock Library) Liverpool Hope University, July 2014.