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Retired pastor hands down his vast collection of theology books to college
Many of the books in the Rev. Charles Stillwell’s collection date back more than a century and are available to the students.

At age 20, the Rev. Charles Stillwell was given a small collection of books by his mentor, the Rev. Jack Inman, to begin his own theological library.

So, Stillwell decided since he is now retired and serving as an interim pastor that it was time for him to pass along his large personal library to Truett-McConnell College, a Baptist college in Cleveland.

He donated 1,137 books from his personal library to the Truett-McConnell Library on Oct. 8 in the name of Dora Spiva, educator and the namesake of the Dora Spiva Education Program at the college.

According to the Truett-McConnell website, the Bachelor of Science in Education degree program at the college began in the fall of 2007 with teacher training in early childhood education and is set to later expand into other grade levels as well.

"Dora Spiva was a member of my church Choestoe (pronounced choy-stoy)," said Stillwell, who was on the committee to name the education program after Spiva.

Stillwell was Spiva's pastor for about eight years at Choestoe Baptist, the oldest church in Union County, he said.

"All I knew was there were a lot of young pastors there and I wanted my library to be put to good use."

So instead of letting the collection become a home for dust bunnies and cobwebs, Stillwell is letting them live again in the hands of young theologians.

Stillwell donated 599 hardback books, 477 paperback books, 59 periodicals, and two media.

Some of the books date back more than a century.

"I think it would be nice; when a pastor gets old and doesn't use them much anymore, I think they would be useful for students," Stillwell said.

Stillwell, who was born and raised in Independence, Missouri, has been in the ministry for 48 years and has ministered in Missouri, Georgia and Sarasota, Fla., and retired in July 2006 from Choestoe Baptist Church.

Today, he lives in Blairsville with his wife, Doris, and is the interim pastor at Friendship Baptist in Suit, N.C.

His vast collection could be seen as legacy beings handed down, but Stillwell is humble about the donation.

"I'm just hoping several of the young pastors can use them in their studies."