Church Historian Workshop

April 11, 2018
Zachary United Methodist Church hosted a district workshop for Church Historians January 24, 2018.  Chris Brown, Archivist of Centenary College and the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church and Margaret Cline Harmon, Zachary United Methodist’s Local Church Historian and Archivist, were co-presenters.  

Brown and Harmon created a program that provided training on how to best serve churches in the field of responsible record keeping and the Ministry of Memory.

The twenty attendees learned what documents and records to keep, what to discard, and how to organize local church records and historical materials no longer in current use.  The workshop also covered preservation standards for protecting church records and who to contact for help when needed. 

Brown presented archival guidelines and techniques as well as important websites and resources while Harmon presented the local operational aspects of the church historian’s duties and how to develop a church archive. 

Attendees each received a packet of useful forms and websites to take back for local use. 

2018 BR District Historian Workshop (L to R):
Marilyn Jones, Catherine Jacocks, Margaret Harmon,
Margaret Tyler, Bernadine Johnson, 
Nordine Broussard, Chris Brown,  
Joyce Perry, Henry Broussard, Denice Broussard, 
Beth Dawson, Katherine Wells, Lynn Cooper,
Michaela Wells, Deanna Hurst, Mel St. Amant,
Lynda Dousay, Mary Burton

The Louisiana Conference UMC Archives website includes collection inventories, conference publications, and additional resources. 

The workshop attendees interacted with other church historians, learned from each other, and asked questions of the presenters. 

Cokesbury’s Guidelines for the Church Historian handbook was available for $4.00, and everyone received a catalog with recommended archival supplies.

The church historian’s task is more complicated than many church positions, yet offers few opportunities for training. 

In talking to other local church historians at the Louisiana Annual Conference in 2017, Mrs. Harmon heard multiple historians express the need for more training. 

After returning home, Harmon contacted Brown and asked that the Louisiana Conference Commission on Archives and History to co-sponsor a Church Historian Workshop for the Baton Rouge District. 

For information related to this workshop, or if you would like to request a Church Historian Workshop in your district, contact: Margaret Harmon, Chris Brown or Louisiana Commission on Archives and History chair Rev. James Graham.
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