The United Methodist Church
General Sources of Information:
Cokesbury 800-672-1789; www.cokesbury.org
The retail sales outlet of The United Methodist Church is headquartered in Nashville, and there are over 40 regional stores. Call for a catalog or to locate the store nearest you. Cokesbury also sells gravemarkers for United Methodist clergy.
Historical Society of The United Methodist Church
Formed in 1989, the Historical Society is a denomination-wide organization made up of persons who love the history of the Church. Members receive a quarterly newsletter, Historian's Digest, and the journal of the General Commission on Archives and History, Methodist History. For further information, click on the Historical Society's home page or write or call the General Commission on Archives and History, P.O. Box 127, Madison, NJ 07940; 973-408-3189.
InfoServ is an information "hot line" at the offices of United Methodist Communications in Nashville. InfoServ staffers can help you track down an address, identify a resource, or find out about a workshop.
Interpreter P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320; 615-742-5400
This is the program journal for the local United Methodist church. Published eight times a year, Interpreter offers practical advice and ideas for persons in ministry in their local church. The "Idea Mart" section often contains a column for the local church historian. Several copies of each issue are sent to every local church; individuals may also subscribe.
The United Methodist Directory & Index of Resources
Printed each year, the directory contains names, addresses, and telephone numbers for staff and members of general church agencies and annual conference leadership. It is available from Cokesbury.
The General Agencies of The United Methodist Church:
There are thirteen general agencies of The United Methodist Church. Here we note those whose publications and programs can help you plan a heritage celebration.
General Commission on Archives and History P.O. Box 127 Madison, NJ 07940 973-408-3189; FAX 973-408-3909 www.gcah.org
Along with its other responsibilities, GCAH works closely with the denominational historical society and with annual conference Commissions on Archives and History to serve the local church. It publishes a variety of resources for local church historians; write, call, or click on this link for a publication list.
General Board of Church and Society100 Maryland Ave., N.E. Washington, DC 20002 202-488-5600; FAX 202-488-5619 www.umc-gbcs.org
GBCS develops resources which can help you interpret the Church's stand on current social issues. These resources can be very helpful as you work to connect your church's history with present-day concerns.
General Board of Discipleship 1908 Grand Ave. POB 340003 Nashville, TN 37203-0003 615-340-7200; FAX 615-340-7006 www.gbod.org
The Board publishes Discipleship Resources, books and other materials which center on the needs of the local church. Call 800-685-4370 to receive a catalog.
General Board of Global Ministries 475 Riverside Drive New York, NY 10115 212-870-3600 FAX 212-870-3748 www.gbgm-umc.org
GBGM can give you helpful information about the mission work of the denomination. Its Women's Division occasionally publishes titles that are history-related; call or write for a catalogue and for the location of a Service Center near you.
General Commission on Religion and Race 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20002-5680 202-547-2271 FAX 202-547-0358 www.gcrr.org
If you plan to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Black History Month, or other occasions celebrating our racial/ethnic diversity, contact GCRR for information on how your church can support current churchwide programs.
General Commission on the Status and Role of Women 1200 Davis St. Evanston, IL 60201 847-869-7330 FAX 847-869-1466 www.gcsrw.org
Contact GCSRW if you plan to celebrate Women's History Month or otherwise focus especially on the contribution of women to your church's history.
United Methodist Communications 810 Twelfth Ave., South Nashville, TN 37203-4744 615-742-5400 FAX 615-742-5469 www.umcom.org
UMCom provides numerous resources and services to help the local church tell its story. Call or write with questions about promotion, publicity, using the radio, writing newspaper copy, buying video equipment, and so on. For resources and information about special Sundays on the United Methodist calendar, contact United Methodist Communications, Division of Program and Benevolence Interpretation, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10015. For a catalog of films and videos, contact EcuFilm at the UMCom Nashville office, 800-251-4091.
The Annual Conference:
Every annual conference has a Commission on Archives and History and an archival depository. Each general agency of the church is represented on the conference level. Your church office probably has the most recent conference journal with those names and addresses. You may also wish to check online on the General Commission on Archives and History Directory.
However, if you cannot locate the address of your conference archives or the names of Archives and History contacts in your conference please call or write the General Commission on Archives and History, P.O. Box 127, Madison, NJ 07940; 973-408-3189.
Each annual conference's Commission on Archives and History maintains the conference archives. Many conference Commissions also publish helpful resources, mark historic sites in the conference, and hold workshops for local church historians. The conference historian or archivist will want to know about your heritage celebration, and the conference archives can be an important source of information and inspiration as you plan your events.
There may also be an historical society in your annual conference; ask at the conference archives or contact the General Commission for this information. Unlike the conference Commission, whose membership is restricted by disciplinary provisions, the historical society's membership is open to all who are interested in United Methodist history in your conference. Some conference historical societies publish newsletters and other resources; others focus on tours and special events. Every conference historical society provides fellowship opportunities for history-lovers in the annual conference.
It is very important to realize how your church's history is connected to the history of your town, county, and state. Public and college libraries, state and county historical societies, genealogical societies, graveyard preservation groups, historic preservation foundations, local history museums - all may be resources for you. Visit the local library to gather names and addresses, then start contacting groups to see who can help you with your research, planning, and publicity. Talk to your town historian or a history professor at an area college.
Nationally, the American Association for State and Local History publishes many valuable resources for persons doing local church history. Call or write for a catalog: 1717 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37201; 615-320-3203.