Dean Nelson and Bob Renouf

Dean Nelson and Bob Renouf

The Renouf/Nelson Library has a collection of over 6,000 volumes and is housed in what has been described as the “jewel of the campus” at St. Philip’s In The Hills. The Rev. Canon Robert Renouf, Ph.D, D. Min, and O. Dean Nelson, Th.D., Ph.D,  were the founders of what has become one of the very best church libraries anywhere in the country.

library bishop and dean

The Rt. Rev. Kirk Stevan Smith, Bishop of Arizona, with Dean Nelson

It is a comfortable, relaxing, attractive place where one can read everything from the New York Times newspaper to history, philosophy, art, religion, fiction, medicine, spirituality.  There is a wide selection of commentaries both recent and past classics and multiple Bible translations — everything from The Message to Goodspeed and beyond.  Some Latin, Greek, and German texts are also available.  Ministries at St. Philip’s, such as mental health, border and immigration, and elder care, are supported, along with the ministry of Mission with book donations to local groups such as prisons, women’s shelters, local parishes, and internationally, through the Zambian Children’s Fund and Diocese of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

The collection is available online and can be accessed from St. Philip’s web site by clicking on the Library link.  The Library of Congress catalog system is used to provide the needed link between our library and other universities and colleges.  The Renouf/Nelson Lbrary is open to the general public.

Every November the library holds a free will offering used book sale.  The proceeds help pay for supplies, equipment, periodical subscriptions, and new additions to the collection. The sale runs for two days and is publicized in the local Tucson paper.  It has been a regular event in the community for over 14 years and is  eagerly anticipated and well attended.

The following Mission Statement was created by Renouf and Nelson, founders of the library.  It emphasizes the importance of intellectual and spiritual growth beyond the boundaries of the Parish walls. It is the goal of the library to reach out to readers, students, thinkers, seekers of all faiths and cultures that they might find that special something which speaks to them.

“The library of St. Philip’s in the Hills Parish shall be a book, periodical, and audio-visual repository and place for the spiritual development and intellectual growth of this parish and its community.  The library shall reflect ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary multi-faith thinking about the nature of God, the universe, and the divine purpose for humanity. The library shall be a voice of Anglican consciousness.  It will house the Church’s theology, catholic and ecumenical.”

On January 14, 2007, the Renouf/Nelson Library was dedicated in its present location at a service on Sunday morning at 10:15 a.m., with the Rev. John Kitagawa, the Rev. Megan Traquair, and the Rev. Gail Carlsen officiating. A portrait of Dean Nelson was dedicated in the fall of 2012 and a portrait of Bob Renouf was dedicated in the summer of 2013.

library plaque

photo by Linda Dewey

On Sunday, February 2, 2014, there was a blessing and prayers for the new plaque in honor of Dean Nelson, and for the library ministry. The Rev. Greg Foraker officiated. The mosaic, commissioned by Corky and Andrea Gabbert in memory of Dean Nelson and created by Santa Theresa Tile Works, states a favorite saying of Dean’s. It reads Cave Ab Homine Unius Libri (Beware of Anyone Who Has Only One Book). The Library Committee is grateful to Corky and Andrea Gabbert for their generous gift. It is a beautiful, striking, fitting entrance piece to the library and a lovely addition to the campus of St. Philip’s In The Hills. Please be sure to stop by the library to view the commemorative plaque and, while there, perhaps stop in and browse. A heartfelt “Thank You” to Corky and Andrea for their generosity.

library bless

photo by Linda Dewey


—Gail Freyer, Chair, Library Committee

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