“I wish our congregation had done a better job of taking care of its history.”
The Archives staff hears this lament several times a month from callers and visitors. Every year more and more Nazarene churches celebrate a special anniversary. Often it is a 50th or 75th anniversary. Occasionally it is a 90th or 100th anniversary. Usually the pastor or lay people want to commemorate the event by developing a brochure or writing a congregational history. But where are the sources necessary to know and understand a particular church’s story?
Steven D. Cooley’s “Writing Your Church’s History” is an excellent guide to developing an anniversary project. Even if you do not envision a written history, you will find that this publication contains helpful direction in finding sources of information and organizing a historical project.
And as Cooley notes, anniversary preparations are also a good time to think seriously about initiating a congregational archive. What sources of information should be kept? Where should congregational records be stored and who should have access to them? What is it, really, that is necessary for understanding our past? “The Congregational Archivist” answers some of the vital questions about preserving and using congregational records.
In 1996 the German District inquired about the best procedures for establishing a district archives. Several other districts have done so since then. “The District Archivist” provides guidelines for district leaders who are contemplating whether they have a role to play in preserving materials related to Nazarene life.