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Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 05 Dec 2008, 17:54
by Dan65802
I received the following email fromt the C.S. Lewis Foundation:

Could you help give C.S. Lewis back to the Westmont professors who lost their homes in the wildfires?

During the recent wildfires in Southern California, Westmont College sustained some serious damage. Located in Montecito, a suburb of Santa Barbara in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Westmont was in the direct path of the flames, which raced down the mountain and through the campus in a matter of minutes. The students were safe in the fireproof gymnasium complex, but several small classroom buildings burned, along with a pod of four small dormitory buildings.

Most serious, however, was the loss of 15 of the 44 faculty homes in the residential area for faculty members adjacent to the campus. These academics lost everything, and the burden of helping 14 families rebuild their lives is a huge challenge for a medium-small college like Westmont.

Jim Taylor, Westmont College Professor and Chair of Philosophy, was the Director of our Oxbridge 2008 Philosophy Symposium. After he told me that he had lost his home in the wildfire, he asked where the best place was for him to go to purchase all the C.S. Lewis books that he had lost.

We believe it would be a truly lovely gesture if the nationwide and worldwide associates of the C.S. Lewis Foundation were to play a key role in helping these Christian academics regain some basic Lewis texts. As they teach in their disciplines from a Christian understanding of life and reality, it is a huge help to have the wisdom and guidance of C.S. Lewis, one of the great Christian academics, at their side.

Most of the 15 faculty members who lost their homes are “Lewisians” or Lewis lovers to some degree. Our plan is to attempt to provide paperback editions of 15-20 classic Lewis texts for as many of these Westmont faculty fire victims as possible.

If you are able to help out in this effort—over and above your charitable commitments to this and other organizations—by purchasing one or more of these classic Lewis texts, please contact me via email at, or telephone me at my office at the College of Arts and Sciences, California Baptist University: 951/343-4363. My staff will be coordinating the effort, collecting the books, and delivering them to the Westmont professors. Thank you for your generosity.

Gayne John Anacker, Ph.D.
Vice President, C.S. Lewis Foundation
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, California Baptist University

I've called Natalie at Dr. Anacker's office, and she'll be emailing me some more information. They're putting together an Amazon Wish List to help purchase books. I'll post that link when I recieve it.

- Dan -

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 05 Dec 2008, 21:47
by Sven
Thanks for the heads up, Dan.

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 06 Dec 2008, 15:36
by Dan65802
Here is the link to the wishlist for the Westmont faculty. The books will be mailed to the Lewis Foundation who will get the books to the individual Westmont faculty. I encourage everyone to consider buying a book or two (or more) for these faculty members who have lost their Lewis libraries.

- Dan -

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 06 Dec 2008, 19:47
by Karen
Thanks for the link, Dan. I've just sent off MC and a couple of Screwtapes. :snow-smile:

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 06 Dec 2008, 22:53
by Dan65802
That's great Karen, thanks! I sent off an MC in my lot as well.

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 02:52
by Tumnus's Books
I just sent off a copy of Weight of Glory. One of my personal favorites...thanks for providing the link and the opportunity

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 02 Jan 2009, 12:56
by a_hnau
Sent a set of the Cosmic Trilogy, no-one's Lewis collection should be without it.

I'm surprised nobody (unless I've missed it) has quoted in this thread Lewis's suggestion that the only books each of us will have in our library in Heaven are those we have given away or lent (perhaps we could get away with 'recommended' as well?). I fear that my collection will be a bit thin, partly as some of my books are too obscure for almost anyone else to desperately want to read them :anxious:

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 02 Jan 2009, 14:27
by Dan65802
a_hnau wrote:I'm surprised nobody (unless I've missed it) has quoted in this thread Lewis's suggestion that the only books each of us will have in our library in Heaven are those we have given away or lent

Oh great. My library in heaven is going to be dozens of copies of the Chronicles of Narnia with a few other Lewis books thrown in.

- Dan -

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 03 Jan 2009, 02:54
by Zattara08
Man I hope that does not include books I didn't like? That would be rather anti-climatic!

Re: Fire at Westmont College

PostPosted: 08 Sep 2009, 18:57
by Dan65802
I know it's been a while since I presented this need, but I just got the following email thanking people who helped with the book donation drive:

Dr. Gayne Anacker wrote:Finally! Here is the final report on the C.S. Lewis Foundation drive to collect and distribute a basic library of C.S. Lewis books to the Westmont College professors who lost their homes in the November 2008 wildfires of Santa Barbara. I am sorry that it has taken so long to report.

The book drive was extremely successful. Nearly 80 people donated books (mostly new books, some good-condition used) and cash to make it possible to distribute about 350 books to 15 professors. A basic set of 18 classic C.S. Lewis books (with the 7 stories of the Chronicles of Narnia counting as only “1”!) was sent to all 15 professors who had lost their homes. A number of additional books were provided for some Westmont professors with a greater need for more specialized Lewis research texts. Finally, a large box of miscellaneous Lewis books was donated to the Westmont College Department of English for further distribution.

On March 19, during my Spring Break, we stuffed my Toyota Highlander full of boxes and delivered the books to the Westmont campus. My wife Karen and daughter Rachael made the trip with me. Even though it was in the middle of Westmont’s Spring Break as well, we were met by three Westmont professors who gratefully received their new Lewis books.

The accompanying photograph shows our impressive stack of boxes of books, along with the three Westmont professors and we three Anackers. In order, from front to back in the photograph, we are: Kim Kihlstrom (Prof. of Computer Science), Jim Taylor (Prof. of Philosophy), Rachael Anacker, Karen Anacker, Cheri Larsen Hoeckley (Prof. of English), and Gayne Anacker.


We are most grateful to all of you who donated either cash or books for this lovely effort. I have received numerous expressions of thanks from the Westmont professors and administrators for this thoughtful and delightful expression of love and care from the broader “C.S. Lewis world.” On behalf of Stan Mattson and the C.S. Lewis Foundation, I thank you most heartily for making this possible with your generous donations.

I also wish to thank my institution, California Baptist University, for allowing me to use the resources of the university to perform the work of the book drive. Most specifically, I wish to thank Ms. Natalee Lopez, Administrative Secretary of the CBU College of Arts and Sciences, for her excellent and sacrificial work on this project.

As something of an explanatory note, I have just taken a leave of absence from CBU, for the 2009-10 academic year, to work with the C.S. Lewis Foundation full-time on a major grant-funded academic initiative. My delay in corresponding with you was in large part due to the very significant level of work (stretching back over better than 5 months) required to bring the grant project to the stage where my full-time work on it was both necessary and possible. My leave from CBU started on Tuesday, September 1, so you can well imagine that I am still finding my way in a new position.

Again, many thanks. I pray God’s blessings upon you as we head into a new academic year.


Gayne Anacker

Gayne John Anacker, Ph.D.
Vice President, Academic Affairs
C.S. Lewis Foundation
Redlands, California

- Dan -