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Pitts Theology Library of Emory University named the new home of ‘Day1’ sermon recordings
Media Contacts
Laurel Hanna
Candler School of Theology
Elaine Justice
Emory University media relations
Photo collage

Pitts Theology Library at Candler School of Theology has been entrusted with the digital archives for the radio program “Day1.” A few preaching luminaries who have been featured on the program include (clockwise from top left) Tom Long, Bishop Michael Curry, Teresa Fry Brown, Barbara Brown Taylor and Kim Jackson.

Pitts Theology Library at Candler School of Theology has acquired the digital archives of the radio program “Day1” — formerly known as “The Protestant Hour” — which has been broadcasting sermons weekly since 1945. The Alliance for Christian Media (ACM), the nonprofit broadcasting organization that produces “Day1,” entrusted Pitts with the show’s full digital archives of more than 3,800 sermons as part of a partnership agreement this spring.

The partnership is the result of years of collaboration between Pitts and ACM, and launches a three-year project that marks a big step in the effort to preserve and provide access to a sizeable portion of America’s Protestant broadcasted preaching history.

Bo Adams, Margaret A. Pitts Distinguished Director of the library, says the “Day1” archives are among the most significant collections of audio preaching from the 20th and 21st centuries.

The radio program “Day 1” has been broadcasting sermons weekly since 1945.

“For nearly 80 years, ‘Day1’ has delivered some of America’s greatest preachers into people’s homes each Sunday through the radio,” Adams says. “Now we have an opportunity to provide access to this treasure trove of preaching to anyone, anywhere, through the power of digital technology.”

Adams says the collection will be a rich resource for preachers, homilists, sociologists, ethicists, historians, students and even the general public.

“A repository like this is so important for the study of the history of preaching and the teaching of different preaching styles in America,” he says, adding that it also serves as an excellent resource for those who just want to hear a great sermon by a great preacher.

Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching at Candler and chair of the Day1 Advisory Council, agrees.

“These archives are a treasury of the finest American preaching over the last three quarters of a century,” Long says. “The ‘Day1’ archives can teach us much historically, even as the sermons in the collection continue to form and inspire faith today.”

Long points to “hundreds of outstanding preachers” in the collection, including Samuel M. Shoemaker, an Episcopal priest whose ministry was influential in the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous; Thelma Adair, the first Black female moderator of the United Presbyterian Church; and best-selling memoirist and religion writer Barbara Brown Taylor.

The collection also contains a sermon by Clovis Chappell, one of the country’s most popular preachers in the 1930s and 1940s, which will add to Pitts’ already expansive collection of Chappell’s sermons and papers. Another gem is a 1976 sermon from public television star and Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, better known as “Mister Rogers.”

As part of the agreement, Pitts will incorporate “Day1” into its digital collections, ensuring open access to the show’s full repertoire through a robust website. Each sermon will be discoverable through enhanced metadata, including Scripture references and biographical information of the preacher, and each will be accompanied by a fully searchable transcript.

Pitts will begin rolling out the digitized collection in 2025, and Adams expects the full archives to be available by the end of 2026.

Katie Givens Kime, a Candler alumna recently named president of ACM and host of “Day1,” says discerning the right institutional partner to expertly steward the new digital home for “Day1” was an enormous decision.

“In the end, Pitts Theology Library’s leadership in building dynamic digital archives, such as their exhibition of Howard Thurman’s sermons, made them the clear choice for ACM Trustees,” Kime says. “We are grateful for the trust, expertise and nimble flexibility of Pitts and Candler School of Theology.”

Over the past decade, Pitts has been enhancing its digital infrastructure to support large-scale projects such as this, an undertaking made easier by the introduction of large-scale cloud computing. The digitized “Day1” archives will be stored in the cloud to allow for broad access — which Adams says is something new.

“Since the majority of these sermons were recorded well before the digital age, much of the ‘Day1’ archives have never been accessible beyond the live radio show,” Adams says. “The integration of the archives into Pitts’ digital collections will not only preserve these invaluable recordings, but also make them accessible to a global audience.”

And that is the true goal.

“This initiative underscores Pitts’ commitment to supporting theological education and research through the preservation and dissemination of important historical and theological resources,” Adams says. “We want to make them available to the widest possible audience.”

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