Congregations are busy with many activities that require their attention, but it is important for them to preserve the historical record of God’s work in and through their congregational life and ministries.
Every congregation should have an historian who regularly collects, organizes and sends their records to the Virginia Mennonite Conference Archives for preservation and historical purposes.
Although digital records are becoming more popular, at this point we still prefer paper copies.
The most important kinds of records to send to the Archives are:
- Weekly worship bulletins
- Newsletters, including birthday and church calendars
- Church business meeting minutes and reports
- Minutes and accompanying paperwork from (a) church council, (b) pastoral or elders team, (c) pastoral transition committees, (d) women’s activities, children and youth activities, MYF, etc., (e) worship, music, stewardship, outreach, and other committees
- Mission and vision statements, church constitution, manuals, handbooks
- Annual budget and financial reports (summaries are preferred)
- Records of a major building or renovation project or a large purchase
- Membership rolls, lists of regular attenders, church directories
- Sunday School and Vacation Bible School records (summaries)
Please be assured that sensitive materials will be marked “restricted” or “closed.” The VMC Archivist will work with researchers if they have good reasons to use restricted materials. They will be required to use the information responsibly.
In my fall article for Pathways, I will highlight some less important but still valuable data and records that we would like to receive from congregations.