Acadia's first College Hall was started in 1843, opened in 1844 and burned in 1877.

Acadia University is the oldest Baptist-related institution of higher education in Canada, having its origins in Horton Academy, founded in 1828 in what is now Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Acadia Divinity College, formerly the Divinity School and now the Faculty of Theology of Acadia University, traces its beginnings to 1967 when it was separately chartered and affiliated to Acadia University.

The Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies (ACBAS) was established by the Acadia Divinity College, in cooperation with the Vaughan Memorial Library of Acadia University, in April 1991. Its primary goal is to encourage and facilitate studies in the fields of Baptist and Anabaptist history and thought.


The purpose of ACBAS is twofold:


To encourage research and studies into all aspects of (1) Baptist history and theology, especially in the Atlantic region of Canada; (2) the Anabaptist movement (the Radical Reformation); and (3) the present heritage of, and contributions by both of these branches of the Christian tradition.


To support the academic programs of Acadia Divinity College and Acadia University, especially in the fields of church history, the Baptist and Anabaptist traditions, and theology.


  1. To encourage the acquisition of additional materials for the study of Baptist and Anabaptist history and theology in Vaughan Memorial Library and Archives of Acadia University.
  2. To assist researchers with identification of materials in the Acadia collections.
  3. To publicize and promote the use of resources at Acadia University.
  4. To sponsor special lectures in the fields of Baptist and Anabaptist life and thought, e.g. the George A. Rawlyk Memorial Lecture in Baptist Studies and the Jarold K. Zeman Memorial Lecture in Anabaptist Studies.
  5. To develop a circle of scholars and students for continuing research in the two fields of inquiry.
  6. To provide fellowships and grants toward travel and residence expenses of visiting scholars and students.
  7. To subsidize participation in conferences related to the purpose of the Centre.
  8. To cooperate with, and provide, assistance to other agencies and institutions who share the objectives of ACBAS.
  9. To undertake special projects in Baptist and Anabaptist studies as opportunities and resources arise and allow.
  10. To publish or assist in publishing Baptist and Anabaptist scholarship.

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Administrative Committee

The centre is administered by a committee and a director appointed by the Acadia Divinity College Board of Trustees.

Rev. Dr. Melody Maxwell, Director
Acadia Divinity College


Rev. Dr. Carol Anne Janzen, Chair
North Kentville, Nova Scotia


Rev. Evan Colford, Secretary
Berwick, Nova Scotia


 Scott Kindred-Barnes
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Dr. Michael Dennis
Acadia University


Rev. Sherrolyn Riley
Dartmouth, NS

Rev. Dr. Stuart Blythe
Acadia Divinity College

Taylor Murray
Hamilton, Ontario


Pat Townsend
Acadia University Library

Jennifer Richard
Acadia University Library


Peter Ludlow
Kentville, NS


Arthur Penner
Grafton, NS


Wendy Robicheau
Acadia University Library

Advisory Board Members

Toivo Pilli 
International Baptist Theological Study Centre

Hannah Lane
Mt. Allison University


Gary Waite
University of New Brunswick


Doug Weaver
Baylor University


Pam Durso
Central Baptist Theological Seminary


Aileen Friesen
University of Winnipeg


Gordon Heath
McMaster Divinity College


Lucille Marr
McGill University


David Bebbington
University of Stirling


Keith Grant
Crandall University




Melody Maxwell

Dr. Melody Maxwell was appointed as director of the Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies in May 2019. She also serves as Associate Professor of Church History at Acadia Divinity College. Dr. Maxwell holds degrees from Union University (BA), Samford University (MDiv), and International Baptist Theological Seminary (PhD). She has written multiple articles and books related to Baptist history, with an emphasis on Baptist women and missions. She is also involved with organizations such as the Baptist World Alliance, International Conference on Baptist Studies, and Baptist History and Heritage Society.

Previous Directors:

William H. Brackney

H. Miriam Ross

Jarold K. Zeman