Baylor University established the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society to receive, maintain, preserve, expand and make available to scholars the Keston Archives and Library, the world’s most comprehensive artificially assembled collection of materials on religious persecution under communist and other totalitarian regimes. Originally located at Keston College in Oxford, the Keston collection arrived in Waco in 2007. The Keston Center became part of the Baylor Libraries in 2012.
Keston Institute Council of Management Chair Xenia Dennen states, "The archive contains many examples of heroism, texts which will one day become spiritual classics. By collecting material on all religions and Christian denominations during the communist period, Keston created a source of exceptional value for all those who recognize the importance of the 20th century religious witnesses in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union: they defended freedom of mind and spirit in the face of a political system which claimed total control over all aspects of human life. They and their message must not be forgotten."
In 1959, British exchange student Michael Bourdeaux received a note from Russian Christians asking for help. There, he learned of religious atrocities. After a divine meeting with the women who penned the letter, he took up their call to be the voice of the voiceless and in 1969 established the Keston Institute to document the fight for religious freedom by believers behind the Iron Curtain. A vast library and unique archive formed Keston's core. In 2007, the Institute passed its collection to the newly created Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society at Baylor University to preserve the resources and promote research on religion in totalitarian societies.
Keston Advisory Board
An international advisory board supports the mission of the Keston Center through advocacy, development efforts, and promoting use of the archives and library. The Keston Advisory Board meets at least annually and contributes expertise, time and concern to the Center.
Advisory Board Chair:
Dr. Steve Gardner, Professor and Chair, Director of McBride Center for International Business and Herman Brown Chair of Economics, Baylor University
Advisory Board Secretary:
Dr. Julie deGraffenried, Associate Professor of Russian and East European History, Baylor University
Keston Institute Representative:
Xenia Dennen, Chairman, Keston Council, Keston Institute, Oxford
Keston Center Director:
Prof. Kathy Hillman, Associate Professor, Baylor University Libraries
Dr. Alexander Agadjanian, Professor, Center for the Study of Religion, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow
Joanne Held Cummings, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Baylor University
Dr. Wallace Daniel, Distinguished University Professor of History, Mercer University
Dr. Dominic Erdozain, Visiting Research Fellow, King’s College, London and Visiting Scholar in the Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Dr. Taffey Hall, Certified Archivist and Director of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, Nashville
Dr. Michael Long, Professor of German and Russian and Division Director of Asian and African Languages, Department of Modern Languages & Cultures, Baylor University
Dr. Stella Rock, Honorary Associate, The Open University, United Kingdom
Dr. Doug Weaver, Professor and Undergraduate Program Director, Religion Department, Baylor University
The Keston Institute (U.K.)
The Keston Institute, founded in 1969 as the Centre for the Study of Religion and Communism, became the "voice of the voiceless" by reporting regularly on the situation and status of persecuted believers in communist countries, including the USSR. The Institute collected primary source materials and documentation in order to ensure accuracy in its reports. The unique archive became the main resource for the study of religion in East and Central Europe during the communist and post-communist period.
Membership in the Institute is open to those "who declare their sympathy with the aims of the institute" and pay a subscription. Members govern elect the Institute’s Council of Management which also serves as Trustees.
To visit the Keston Institute website, see http://www.keston.org.uk/.