William F. Fore, former chief of communication for the NCC, donates rich storehouse of religious information to Claremont

Michael Maus, Pat Pattillo, Bill Fore

William F. Fore, right, posed in 2008 with two of his successors as chief of communications for the NCC: Michael Maus, left, and Wesley M. "Pat" Pattillo, center.

Photo by George Conklin.

Claremont, Calif., October 25, 2011 -- The Rev. Dr. William F. Fore, executive director of the National Council of Churches Broadcasting and Film Commission for 25 years, has placed one of the world's richest treasure houses of online religious information into the care of the Claremont School of Theology.

Fore is the designer and senior editor of Religion-Online.org, one of the most used online resources in the area of religion. According to Google, the site had 10 million hits this year from visitors in more than 200 nations.

Now Fore has donated the site to Claremont's library. He picked the school, he said, because he wanted the website "in the hands of a world-class institution for the study and practice of religions in life-affirming ways."

The site offers scans of more than 6,000 book chapters, articles, and speeches, including an extensive collection of Christian Process Theology, a rare collection of Indian Dalit writings on theology, sociology, and ethics, and collections of Hindu and Buddhist theology.

Unlike many online sources which offer links to other websites, Religion-Online connects researchers to actual texts and scholarly material.

Religion-Online was conceived when Fore taught at the United Theological College in Bangalore, India, in 1997. Text books were almost impossible for students and professors to obtain. "A single copy printed in the USA cost about one-third of a professor's monthly salary," he said.

The free site is designed to assist teachers, scholars and general "seekers" who are interested in exploring religious issues, Fore explains. Fore is senior editor and maintains the website, and ten scholars have worked as volunteer editors.

"This is a wonderful gift," said the Rev. Dr. Jerry D. Campbell, president of Claremont. "It is an honor that Bill Fore has entrusted us with the future of Religion-Online, and we are extremely grateful. We will take our new responsibility seriously."

Fore was the senior communications administrator for the National Council of Churches for the better part of three decades. From 1972 he was chair of the Advisory Council of National Organizations of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He was president of the World Association for Christian Communication from 1982 to 1988. He is a former member of the RCC New York Chapter.

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell), [email protected]

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