Rylands represented at the world’s largest religious studies conference

aarlogoDr Gareth Lloyd, curator of Christian religious archives, represented the Library at the joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), which convened in San Antonio, Texas, 19-22 November.

This year’s gathering brought together 9,500 professors and students, authors and publishers, religious leaders and interested lay people to the world’s largest annual event in the field of religious studies and theology. The meeting comprised 1,400 academic sessions, receptions, workshops and a book fair.

Academy of American Religion, San Antonio, 2016

Dr Lloyd acted as joint convener and presenter at a session, organized in collaboration with Liverpool Hope University on the theme of Rapture and Reason: Conversion Experience in the Transatlantic Revival, 1730-1820. The international panel of presenters also included Bruce Hindmarsh (Regent College), Rachel Cope (Brigham Young), David Hart (Methodist Church of Great Britain), Andrew Cheatle (Liverpool Hope) and Sean McGever (Aberdeen). The meeting was chaired by Tom Greggs, Marischal Professor of Divinity, The University of Aberdeen.

In his presentation, Dr Lloyd spoke about the collection of early conversion testimonies digitized and made available online by the Library earlier this year. This rich collection is both a devotional resource for the contemporary Church and a cross-disciplinary research collection of international significance. Dr Lloyd spoke about the background to the project, while his co-presenter Andrew Cheatle described how Liverpool Hope is using the digitized testimonies in undergraduate teaching.

The Library is working alongside the Methodist Church and Liverpool Hope to transcribe the collection and it is intended that in due course the online testimonies will be annotated. The collection and associated commentary can be accessed here.

Anyone who wishes to enquire about volunteering opportunities connected with this project should contact Gareth Lloyd ( or Owen Roberts, Methodist Church Heritage Officer (


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