Archives & History Reports (2000-09)

2009 Report to Annual ConferenceCOMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

The maintenance of an Archives & History website <www.iscuo.org> is an ongoing process. Numerous resources on our heritage can be found there. For example, we continue to add memoirs to the online database each year.

A new project began in 2008 to digitize the New Orleans Christian Advocate (our conference paper for our first 100 years). Our 2008 budget allowed us to digitize the almost 5,000 issues that are on microfilm. We thank the archives for allowing us to borrow the microfilm for this purpose. The first issues began appearing online in March 2009 and more will be added as I have the time to convert and post them. That project, once completed, will allow the entire conference (and beyond) access to thousands of documents vital for church research. Till now, it has only existed in microfilm form in the basement of the Centenary library and has been rarely used.

Other than the Advocate, the major source of historical material needed by churches to do research is the Annual Conference Journal. We plan on digitizing those documents (starting the first one in 1847) and posting relevant material online for our churches to access. We will begin as soon as the budget allows. We hope to first digitize the journals from the 1800s. Since later journals got progressively larger, the task will be more difficult (costly) as we move towards the present. We would like to go as far as our funding will allow.

A major concern is the lack of funding. We understand the hard times, but are sad that our budget for 2009 and 2010 were reduced to $1000 from the long-time budget of $3000. This will hinder the progression of our projects to make research materials more available to the local churches. We hope that our funding can be returned to the level that we have had for the past few decades.

We'd like to remind everyone that a petition was passed several years ago requiring churches to send copies of their records and vital documents/images to the archives for safekeeping. With the ever-present threat of hurricanes, fire, tornado, etc., we need to make sure we have our historical information available for our future.

Tim Hebert, Chair

2008 Report to Annual ConferenceCOMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

No report was filed due to illness. 

2007 Report to Annual ConferenceCOMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

Accomplishments and Celebrations:

We celebrate and give thanks for the museum-type display and the video of our Annual Conference History, prepared for viewing at the 2006 session of the Annual Conference due to the labors of Mr. Timothy Hebert.  These two landmark works helped some to remember and to learn about our rich heritage as we celebrated 200 years of Methodism in Louisiana.

We celebrate and give thanks to Chris Brown in the Centenary College Archives Office for making significant contributions to the above projects as he provided us with leadership in locating much of the resources needed to complete these projects.  Also, a word of appreciation goes to interested individuals who made contributions of items as well.

Goals and Objectives for 2007:

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a number of our churches sustained massive physical damage.  As the custodians of our rich past, we ask, respectfully, that you please consider donating to the Archives, whether they be early photos, certificates, or other items unique to your churches that represent tangible evidence of your faithfulness.  As we rebuild and move forward these items can be preserved for generations to come and be both a source of reflection as well as inspiration. (Submitted by Rev. Russell Clunan, Baton Rouge).

The Commission will seek the advice of the Conference to assist us in producing a vehicle that will identify the specific needs of the Districts and the local churches before Archives and History Workshops can be designed.  However, the General Commission is standing by to render assistance to our Conference Commission in planning and sponsoring whatever training that we might need.

Dreams and Visions for the Future:

In this the 300th anniversary of the Reverend Charles Wesley’s birth, the Conference Office has graciously made available display cabinets to house a changing exhibit of Wesleyan history and artifacts from around the world.  This exhibit, to be housed initially at our Conference facility in Baton Rouge, will include such items as early hymnals, disciplines, class tickets, wooden collection boxes, lithograph and medals.  Featured will me metallic portraits of George Whitefield, John Wesley, John Fletcher, and Matthew Simpson.  Of interest in this tricentennial of Charles Wesley will be several medals struck for the 1839 Centennial, a rare large format lithograph portrait and an early 1800’s reprint of Rev. Wesley’s sermons.  Preliminary plans call for this exhibit to be later located at the Conference Wesley Center. (Submitted by Rev. Russell Clunan, Baton Rouge).

Kenneth M. Fisher, Chair

2006 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTOR
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Accomplishments And Celebrations

  • We  celebrate  and  give  thanks  for  two  specific  training  sessions:   (1)  Healthy Churches  Transforming  the  World:    A  Conference  for  the  training  of  Conference Chairpersons held in Houston,  Texas January 27-30,  2005 and (2) Attendance (by invitation)  to  the  Annual  Meeting  of  the  General  Commission  on  Archives  and History (GCAH) held at the GCAH headquarters on the Drew University Campus in Madison, New Jersey, September 11, 2005.  At this meeting, both the new manual for  Annual  Conference  Commission  2005  -  2008  and  “Guidelines  for  Managing Records  for  the  Annual  Conference  and  the  Local  Church”  were  distributed,  and reports were received from General Commissions across our denomination.
  • We celebrate and give thanks for the office of Director of Connectional Ministries for  their  assistance  in  providing  financial  resources  for  making  the  attendance  of these events possible and also for assuming temporary management responsibilities for this Commission's financial resources.
  • We celebrate those former members of our Conference Commission (CAH) who are no  longer  physically  able  to serve  on  the Commission,  but  who,  because  of  their knowledge,  resourcefulness,  and  love  for  this  work  will  remain  friends  of  the commission.

Goals And Objectives For The 2006 Annual Conference

  • Plans  are  being  made  to  celebrate  the  200th  anniversary  of  Methodism  at  the Louisiana  Conference.    A  video  of  our  Conference  history  and  a  museum-type display are being prepared for viewing at the Annual conference.  The display, when completed, will be put up at the Conference Center in Woodworth, La.
  • As a reminder to local churches of the importance of sending the Archives a copy of church records and photos, etc. especially in case an emergency befalls a church or a church is closed, one way to be prepared is to begin making backup copies of these items. ·
  • We  appreciate  the  tireless  efforts  of  Mr.  Tim  Hebert,  who,  on  a  volunteer  basis, continues  to maintain  and rework  our  Conferences  Website  while  working on the above named projects for the 200th Anniversary Celebration.

Concerns And Challenges

    Due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the work for the commission has been temporarily placed on hold in the Southern part of Louisiana.  We look forward to the time when we can gather up artifacts and items of historic value that survived.

Kenneth Fisher, Chair

2005 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

Accomplishments

The   accomplishments,   visions   and   goals,   as   set   forth   in   the   2004 Conference Report (pages 373 - 374, Conference Journal), are ongoing.  I pledge  to  honor  the  great  work  of  my  predecessor,  Tim  Hebert,  by continuing  the  unfinished  work  of  the  Conference  Church  Directory relative to  working with local churches to establish  church  histories and proper archive storage.  Several churches in each district were not able to send historic  information to  Tim  in time  by the  2004 deadline.   As you browse  through  the  Directory,  you  notice  that  there  are  pages  with  a picture of the church and only one or two lines of information about it.  As far as  my clergy  responsibilities will allow,  I  plan  to  be  available  upon request  to  assist  local  churches  with  ways  to  research  and  produce adequate histories.  These, as received, will be added to the online version, which may be downloaded for updating your directory.

Concerns

Often,   congregations   have   elderly   members   who   are   'walking encyclopedias' on  that  local  church.

   Much of that  history  dies  with those members.  There are exciting ways to capture and preserve that information while they are alive.  Contact: Kingfish796@aol.com .

     There are still churches that have great historical  significance in our Conference  that  have  not  applied for  the  Conference  Historical  Site Markers.    You  may  apply  online  at   . These markers will be awarded to the Pastor and Delegate of churches that qualify in each Annual Conference.

Vision

     The Vision continues as set forth in the paragraph labeled 'Vision' on p. 374, 2004 Conference Journal.  In addition, we plan to encourage the donations of archival and historic artifacts from retired clergy and lay  personnel  of  the  conference,  as  well  as  families  of  deceased members,  to  be  deposited  in  the  Conference  Archives  at  Centenary College  in  Shreveport,  Dillard  University  in  New  Orleans,  and  on display at the Conference Center in Woodworth, Louisiana.

Long Term Goals

     We   plan   to   research   the   possibility   of   consolidating   available information   on   the   former Conference   'A'   presently   housed at Centenary  College,  and  Conference  'B'  presently  housed  at  Dillard University.    Hopefully,  by  placing  this  information  on  the website, people who are engaged in research on these former Conferences will have access to both in one place.

Kenneth McLaurin Fisher, Chair

2004 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

Accomplishments

     The Historical Register has been completed. Begun in the mid 1990s, it contains a photo, statistics, a brief history, driving directions, and a map for each church in the Conference. A limited number of printed and CD copies will be made available at Annual Conference 2004.  

     An online version appears at  <www.historicalregister.org >. This will allow all United Methodists to learn about our Louisiana Conference churches, strengthening the understanding of our connectionalism and our shared heritage.

     Over 1200 Memoirs (from the last 150+ years of Conference Journals) have been placed online in a searchable database at our Archives & History website < www.iscuo.org/memoirsproject.htm >.
Besides the Historical Register and Memoirs, additional material continues to be added at the Archives & History website 

     The historical display was set up in the front room and foyer display cabinet at the Conference Center in mid 2003.

Vision

     We continue to add materials to the United Methodist room at the Conference Center , to display historical items reflecting our heritage.

     We pray for more active involvement of individuals and churches of the Conference in preserving and understanding their records and heritage in the hopes that this will help provide a foundation for ministry in the future.

     The next web project will be to post the Louisiana Conference appointments … beginning in the early nineteenth century. This will help churches in researching the pastors that have served over the years.
We will be preparing to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of United Methodism in Louisiana in 2006.

Concerns

     As time goes by, some churches are letting their histories slip away. Records and artifacts need to be better preserved.

     We sometimes make decisions without reflecting upon the history of our Conference and The United Methodist Church. We need to remember our past to better prepare for ministry in the 21st century.
Items For Action.

     Churches with historical significance in the Conference are encouraged to apply for Historical Site Markers Churches that did not responded to requests for historical information are urged to send in their information when possible. New information will be posted at the online version and those with printed copies will be able to update their versions.

     Churches are encouraged to submit copies (or originals) of older church records to the Archives for safekeeping.

     We will continue to add to the permanent historical display at the Conference Center and will feature revolving exhibits. Churches are asked to respond when asked to contribute items for the display.

     Congregations approaching anniversaries are encouraged to celebrate their heritage and to remember the people and events that have brought them to this point in time.

Timothy Hebert, Chair

2003 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

Accomplishments

     Over 600 Memoirs have been placed online in a searchable database at our website . We hope to have all extant Memoirs online by the end of 2003.

     The Historical Register continues to be uploaded online at . This will allow all United Methodists to learn about our Louisiana Conference churches, strengthening the understanding of our connectionalism and our shared heritage.

     Histories were collected from some of those churches that had not submitted material previously.

     Historical resource material and display material continue to be collected a display at the Conference Center.

Vision

     We continue to add materials to the United Methodist room at the Conference Center, which will have a display of historical items reflecting our heritage. A display cabinet is located in the foyer. The first display will be for the celebration of the 300 th Anniversary of John Wesley's birth (June, 2003).

     We pray for more active involvement of individuals and churches of the Conference in preserving and understanding their records and heritage in the hopes that this will help provide a foundation for ministry in the future.

     The next web project will be to list the Louisiana Conference appointments beginning in the early 19 th century …. online at our website. This will help churches in researching the pastors that have served over the years.

Concerns

     As time goes by, some churches are letting their histories slip away. Records and artifacts need to be better preserved.

      We sometimes make decisions without reflecting upon the history of our Conference and The United Methodist Church. We need to remember our past to better prepare for ministry in the 21st century.

Items For Action

     Churches with historical significance in the Conference are encouraged to apply for Historical Site Markers .

     We still have over 15% of our churches that have not responded to requests for historical information. Local churches are encouraged to check the website to verify their information and to see if information needs to be added. The Register will be produced in printed form in the spring of 2004 and those churches that have not responded will not have their information included.

     Churches are encouraged to submit copies (or originals) of older church records to the Archives for safekeeping.

     We will continue to add to the permanent historical display at the Conference Center and will feature revolving exhibits. Churches are asked to respond when asked to contribute items for the display.

     Congregations approaching anniversaries are encouraged to celebrate their heritage and to remember the people and events that have brought them to this point in time.

Timothy Hebert, Chair  

2002 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

      The Historical Register is being placed online at www.historicalregister.org.  This will allow all United Methodists to learn about our Louisiana Conference churches, strengthening the understanding of our connectionalism and our shared heritage.

     Histories were collected from some of those churches that had not submitted material previously.

     Historical resource material and display material have been acquired for a display at the Conference Center.

VISION: 

     We will be establishing a United Methodist room at the Conference Center, which will have a display of historical items reflecting our heritage.  A display cabinet will also be located in the foyer.

     We hope to expand the United Methodist holdings at our repository at Dillard University. 

     We pray for more active involvement of individuals and churches of the Conference in preserving and understanding their records and heritage in the hopes that this will help provide a foundation for ministry in the future. 

CONCERNS:

     As time goes by, some churches are letting their histories slip away.  Records and artifacts need to be better preserved. 

     We sometimes make decisions without reflecting upon the history of our Conference and The United Methodist Church.  We need to remember our past to better prepare for ministry in the 21st century. 

ITEMS FOR ACTION:

     We still have 20% of our churches that have not responded to requests for historical information.  Local churches are encouraged to check the website to verify their information and to see if information needs to be added.  The Register will be produced in printed form when 95% of the churches have submitted histories.

     Churches with historical significance in the Conference are encouraged to apply for Historical Site Markers. 

     Churches are encouraged to submit copies (or originals) of older church records to the Archives for safekeeping. 

     We will be setting up the displays for the United Methodist Room at the Conference Center.  Churches are asked to respond when asked to contribute items for the display. 

     Congregations approaching anniversaries are encouraged to celebrate their heritage and to remember the people and events that have brought them to this point in time.

Timothy Hebert, Chair 

2001 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

     We have completed visitation and photography of every church in the Louisiana Conference.

     The Historical Register is being placed online at www.historicalregister.org.  This will allow the information to be made available in 2001, and will allow the Conference membership to check its accuracy and submit missing material before the printed version is made. 

     We have accumulated histories for 75% of our churches.  As soon as we obtain 95%, we will be producing a printed version of the Historical Register.

     The CMT approved the reinstatement of District Historians.  This will give us a contact and resource person for historical information in each District.

VISION:

     We hope to be able to adequately staff and maintain the Archives at Centenary College.

     We hope to expand the United Methodist holdings at our repository at Dillard University.

     We are working towards the establishment of a United Methodist room at the Conference Center, which will have a display of historical items reflecting our heritage.

     We plan to have the Historical Register online in 2001 and in print soon thereafter.  This will allow all United Methodists to learn about our Louisiana Conference churches, strengthening the understanding of our connectionalism and our shared heritage.

     We pray for more active involvement of individuals and churches of the Conference in preserving and   understanding their records and heritage in the hopes that this will help provide a foundation for ministry in the future.

CONCERNS:

     As time goes by, some churches are letting their histories slip away.  Records and artifacts need to be better preserved. 

     We sometimes make decisions without reflecting upon the history of our Conference and The United Methodist Church.  We need to remember our past to better prepare for ministry in the 21st century.

ITEMS FOR ACTION:

     We still have 25% of our churches that have not responded to requests for historical information.  We trust that those churches will be able to submit something to include in the Historical Register by July 2001.

     Churches with historical significance in the Conference are encouraged to apply for Historical Site Markers.

     Churches are encouraged to submit copies (or originals) of older church records to the Archives for safekeeping.

     We need to raise funds for a display cabinet at the Conference Center.  Churches are asked to respond when asked to contribute items for the display.

     Congregations approaching anniversaries are encouraged to celebrate their heritage and to remember the people and events that have brought them to this point in time.

Timothy Hebert, Chair

2000 Report to Annual Conference
COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES & HISTORY

The Commission on Archives and History had three major projects this year.

  1. The Commission unanimously approved the application of two churches to receive designation as nationally recognized Historic Sites of the United Methodist Church.  The two New Orleans churches are Mount Zion United Methodist Church and Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church.  Both churches date back to the 1870s or before.  Mount Zion’s congregation goes back to the beginning of Methodist Episcopal Church (North) work in New Orleans.  Rayne’s congregation, through its three constituent congregations, goes back to the beginning of Methodist Episcopal (later Methodist Episcopal, South) work in New Orleans before the Civil War.  These two churches are also notable for their Partnership Relationship through which they share activities throughout the year.  The Commission asks Annual Conference approval of its recommendation that these two churches receive Historical Site markers to be presented to the churches at ceremonies later this year and early next year.
  2. Tim Hebert is in the last stages of finishing his Historical Register of the United Methodist Churches of the Louisiana Annual Conference.  By next year, we should have definite news of its completion date and information about its publication.
  3. Members of the Commission are also establishing a Historical Society for the Louisiana Annual Conference.  The first meeting is the Sunday night of Annual Conference.  You will be hearing more about this organization in the future.  For further information, you may contact either Tim Hebert in Houma or Fern Christensen in Natchitoches.
     

 Dr. Robert Sherer, Chair