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At its annual meeting just past, The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) traveled to Historic St. Georges UMC, Philadelphia, PA (see links below). It was a great day at one of the seminal churches in Methodism, the place that greeted Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor---John Wesley's first missionaries from across the pond---and a few years later Francis Asbury, destined to become one of the very first Methodist bishops. History radiates from floor to ceiling and pew to a classic tub pulpit in this oldest Methodist Church building in America.

One of St. George's defining stories is not about its place in Methodist beginnings but how this church almost met its end. In the 1920s a change in neighborhood demographics caused a near-deadly
decline in church membership-from a thousand people to fewer than fifty. This state of affairs led The Delaware River Bridge Commission to conclude that St. George's would be uncontested collateral damage when plans for a new bridge linking Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey came off the drawing board. St. George's stood in the path of the bridge and progress demanded demolition.

Here is where one of the great words in history and theology come into play: "BUT." St. George's was marked for demolition BUT a small group of leaders, with the help of Bishop Joseph Nealy, fought a battle in the courts that eventually saved St. George's from the wrecking ball. The settlement moved the path of the bridge 18 feet. Since that time, Historic St. George's, for all its colonial renown, has been known as "the church that moved the bridge." To this day visitors are amazed by the church's extremely close proximity to car and train traffic literally whooshing by.

Ah, what a fascinating story. It charms tourists and intrigues historians. BUT, I am telling you this tale as more than its example of a few of the faithful beating the big, bad system. For church archivists and historians there is a more powerful teachable moment. St. George's may be the church that moved the bridge---BUT concerning the work of history, the reverse of that phrase is even more on target. The work of history is a bridge that moves the Church. The work of GCAH, annual conference Commissions, conference archives and Historical Societies is a labor of connection traversing Wesleyan- and Methodist-rich legacy, spanning the challenges of this and every time. It is supported by piers and pylons sunk deeply into the core of our "people called Methodist" DNA-crossing rivers or chasms---and finally arriving on the other side where God is forever calling the faithful with all that has been bequeathed to us in tow.

We live in a time when there is more talk of walls than bridges, more fear about being stuck in gridlock rather than seeing a way across or through.

Many people think the work we archivists and historians do is gathering and collecting old stuff and putting it on shelves, more about warm, fuzzy nostalgia than seeding well-grounded new life. Here at
GCAH and the work you doing in archives and history wherever you are---WE are bridge builders. Thank God for the reach of your efforts that may not be fully realized in our life and times.

As we like to say here at the United Methodist Archives, by understanding the past, GCAH helps the Church engage the present and envision the future.

The thing about bridges.....They were built so that crossing-over can happen. So let's never give up.
Let's keep on walking and working together.

Rev. Alfred T. Day










For more about Historic St. George's -

In Memoriam- Rev. Dr. William K. Quick
May 20, 1933 ~ September 17, 2017 (age 84)
Member of GCAH from 1996-2004

The Rev. Dr. William K. Quick, 84, retired United Methodist pastor, and long-time Senior Pastor of Metropolitan United Methodist Church on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, MI passed away Sunday, September 17 after an extended illness. His family was at his side.

Bill Quick was born in Marlboro County, eldest son of Douglas and Virginia Stubbs Quick. He grew up in the Ghio community of Richmond and Scotland Counties in North Carolina. He attended Pfeiffer College, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA and Duke University Divinity School. All three institutions have named him a "Distinguished Alumnus." He was awarded honorary doctorates from Pfeiffer College, Albion College, and Union College.

He served Methodist churches in North Carolina as well as in Michigan for 45 years. In North Carolina he pastored three fishing village churches: Bahama UMC in Bahama, NC; Zebulon UMC in NC; St. James UMC in Greenville and Trinity UMC in Durham, NC before being brought to Detroit, MI in 1974 where he served Metropolitan Church for 24 years. He retired from the pastorate in 1998 and was recruited by the Dean of Duke Divinity School to teach. Beginning in 2000 he taught classes in Leadership, Administration, Stewardship and Finance. He also taught for eight years in the Duke Course of Study, both weekend and summer. He held the position of Visiting Professor for 15 years, retiring in 2014 having taught more than a thousand students during that time. A world-class preacher, he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ on every continent but Australia. He served the global Church in many capacities. He was former Associate General Secretary of the World Methodist Council, as well as the coordinator of Partner Churches in Latvia and Lithuania. He was a delegate to six General and Jurisdictional Conferences and eight World Methodist Conferences. Dr. Quick was the Keynote Speaker for the 1991 World Methodist Conference held in Singapore. In 1996, the World Methodist Council presented him its "Seat of Honor" during the General Conference in Denver, CO.

He is the author of Signs of Our Times (Abingdon, 1989) The Past Speaks to the Future (Abingdon, 1995), and Good News from Detroit (Morris, 1998).

Dr. Quick is survived by his wife, Mary Levack Quick, his four children, Stephen Kellon Quick (Suzanne) of Chicago, IL, a daughter Kathryn Quick (Rev. Gerald Davis) of Asheville, NC, David Christopher Quick of Charleston, SC, and Paul Sanders Quick of Athens, GA. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Michelle Quick Henkels of Chicago, IL, Matthew Quick of Knoxville, TN, Hayden Davis and Dylan Davis of Asheville, NC, and Zachary Quick of Athens, GA, his former wife, Barbara Campbell Quick of Bluefield, WV and a brother, Michael Douglas Quick of Hamlet, NC. He was preceded in death by his brother, Harold Francis Quick.

After the Church, Dr. Quick's passion was for education and especially for scholarships for the young. He often said he was only able to do what he has done because of the generosity of those who
supported him. In lieu of flowers gifts are suggested to one of the following: The William K. Quick Scholarship at Duke University Divinity School for students entering the ministry or The 'William K.
Quick 'Scholarship' held within THE WILLIAM KELLON QUICK CENTENNIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Detroit or The 'William K. Quick College Scholarship' for deserving students held at Gibson United Methodist Church, 13241 McLaurin Street, Gibson, NC.

To view the guest book or offer condolences, please visit:

GCAH Holds Second Annual Meeting of the Quadrennium

The celebration of Dr. Jerry Gill and Dr. Paul McCleary as the 2017 recipients of its Distinguished Service Award, worship at the historic St. George's United Methodist Church, a workshop for the Chairs of annual conference Commisions on Archives and History, and a visit to Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church were highlights of the General Commission Archives and History's second board meeting of the four-year cycle. The meeting was held September 15-18 at the United Methodist Archives and History Center on the Drew University campus in Madison, New Jersey.

As the first order of business, Rev. Alfred T. Day, General Secretary, spoke about the work of the Commission as "more than shelves full of dusty books and ledgers but the very stuff and substance of who and what United Methodists have been from the Wesleys, Asbury and Hosier to Alsted, Ough and Carcano. "GCAH," he said, "is the Church's ministry of memory, making the past accessible to help the UMC envision, form and shape the future."

The GCAH Board consists of the 24 members with Bishop Park serving as President of the Board. Other officers include Drs. Judit Lakatos (Central Europe), William Bobby McClain (NEJ), Vice Presidents; Diana Miller (NCJ), Secretary; and the General Council on Finance and Administration serving as Treasurer. Other members representing the length and breadth of the denomination include: Matthew Loyer, Jeremy Smith, Stephen Yale, Linda Schramm, Ted Campbell, Judi Fergus, Jennifer Neal, Imingcio Dalig Plang, Luther Oconer, Duane Coates, James Pyatt, DarEll Weist, Chris Brown, Christina Wolf, Joe DiPaolo, James Shopshire, Brian Bakeman, Elizabeth Lopez, and Anne Packard.

A visioning time stressed initiatives to increase digitization and on-line accessibility of Commission resources with attention making them smart-technology friendly, expanding efforts to train archivists outside the US, especially in Africa and the Philippines, seeking creative efforts to translate the UMC's history at every level of church life, and actively pursuing a financial development plan for the Commission due to the environment of decreasing General Church revenues.
Other notable actions:
- approved a $1.08 million budget for 2018 including more than $20,000 in grants to the denomination's 49 Heritage Landmarks, and $20,000 in awards, prizes and grants to Methodist history students and scholars.
- approved the nominations for the 2018 Distinguished Service Award. To be announced pending notification.
- continued an aggressive archives budget that processes, stores and makes accessible the record of UMC general agencies, Council of Bishops and historic Methodist figures---an equivalent of 3 stories of paper each year.

Commission member, Church historian and past Distinguished Service Award honoree Dr. Ted Camphell, said, "People become disciples of Jesus Christ because of story, whether from the Bible, the early church, Christian history, congregational histories, or personal accounts. People become involved in a particular church and develop loyalty because of that church's story. - its DNA and unique personality."

View the press release at

2017 Distinguished Service Award Winners

GCAH was pleased to award the 2017 Distinguished Service Awards to Dr. Jerry Gill and Dr. Paul McCleary. Dr. Gill was honored because of his singular, outstanding efforts to collect the oral histories of Native Americans in Oklahoma. His work resulted in the production of the video documentary "Who Is My Neighbor? Native American Methodism in Oklahoma."

Dr. Gill is a graduate of Oklahoma State University were he earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in history. He served in administrative and external relations positions at Oklahoma State University for 34 years; the final 23 years as President & CEO of the OSU Alumni Association. Dr. Gill served on the Oklahoma Conference Commission on Archives & History (CAH), 2008-2016; Chair 2008-2012. During his time with the Oklahoma CAH, he helped oversee an oral history initiative---purchased video equipment, hosted training seminar for local church histories interviewers, and placed those oral histories in the conference archives. Other initiatives include researching the history of First United Methodist Church, Stillwater for a special recognition event commemorating the 125th anniversary of its founding in 1889. He conducted interviews with church members and organized the 125th anniversary program for First Church, with the sermon delivered by Bishop Robert E. Hays. He wrote the supporting documentation for petition that was approved by CAH and the Annual Conference for recognition of First Church as a Conference Historic Site. He organized the community-wide event to celebrate First Church's recognition as a Conference Historical Site and to unveil the Historic Site plaque permanently mounted at the entrance to the sanctuary. Dr. Gill is a Fellow of the Society of John Wesley, the OSU Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient, and recipient of the True and Loyal Award---a recognition from the president of OSU for career service to the University.

Dr. McCleary was honored for his work with the World Council of Churches, on the EUB Methodist Merger in 1968, and his teaching and writing in the field of Methodist Church polity and governance. McCleary is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL. He has an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL. Paul served student appointments in the Central Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church before leaving for Bolivia where he served as pastor, District Superintendent and Executive Secretary of the Annual Conference. He has served denominational posts as Executive Secretary of the Structure Study Commission of the General Conference, Assistant General Secretary for Latin America of the General Board of Global Ministries, Associate General Secretary of the General Council on Ministries, and as Executive Director of Church World Service of the NCCC. For several years he served with non-governmental organizations such as Save the Children, Christian Children's Fund and Feed the Children. He served as President of the NGO Committee to UNICEF and Chair of the Board of InterAction. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank and the Latin American Development Bank. McCleary served on committees of the World Council of Churches. He served for eight years as an advisor to the Bishops' Task Force on Children and Poverty of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. He is the author of several books, studies, and monograms.

GCAH Launches Children/Youth Curriculum Award

GCAH proudly announces a new grant opportunity! The purpose of the grant is to provide seed money (ie. research, group collaboration, peer review) for the creation of a curriculum suitable for teaching the history of The United Methodist Church to children or youth.

Grants totaling $1,000 will be available at the discretion of the committee of judges and in accordance with available funding each year.

Candidates will be chosen by a committee consisting of three persons from GCAH. Proposals by seminary students studying Christian Education for children/youth and practitioners with children/youth at the grass roots level are especially encouraged.

How to apply: The candidate must submit an application which includes the
* A vita or resume
* A description of the project, including the goals and pedagogical purpose of the research
* A description of the final product - applicants are encouraged to consider a variety of formats (written, audiovisual, oral history, bibliographies, archival guides, etc.)
* A timetable for the project, including the expected date of completion
* A budget
* An indication of how the research results will be disseminated. (The final product does not necessarily have to be formally published, but the information must be made available to the public in some way.) ,
* The candidate must submit three letters of recommendation from persons who can provide evidence of his/her scholarly capability.

Submitted proposals should be postmarked no later than December 31, 2017. Grant recipients will be announced by May 1 of the following year.

A copy of the final product will be deposited with the General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church and, after adaptions for technical flexibility, made available for local church use on the GCAH website.

Submit materials to:
General Secretary
General Commission on Archives and History
P.O. Box 127,
Madison, NJ 07940

Information available online at:

New Historic Site in Hawaii is UMC first

GCAH has recognized over a dozen new UMC Historic Sites since July 1, 2017!

An Historic Site is a location or structure associated with an event, development, or personality deemed of strong historic significance in the history of an Annual, Central, or Jurisdictional Conference. Historic Sites are designated by formal action of the Annual, Central, or Jurisdictional Conference within whose region the site is located.

This crop of new sites includes the first site to be recognized in the state of Hawaii. Site #535 is the site of the first the Japanese Methodist Church in southern CA and Hawaii, now Harris UM Church, in Honolulu. "The Western Jurisdictional Commission on Archives and History is especially pleased to have the first Japanese Church in Southern California and Hawaii recognized. Japanese Methodists' have played an important in our Western Methodist History," said the Rev. Dr. DarEll T. Weist, President of the Western Jurisdiction Commission on Archives and History and GCAH board member. "We have three Japanese Bishops elected from our Jurisdiction and many Japanese in other leadership roles. To honor one of the Japanese Mother congregations is very special to us all."

According to the church's website, the history of this church goes back to July 15, 1888, when Bishop M.C. Harris baptized the first group of Japanese in Hawaii who had converted to Christianity under Rev. Kanichi Miyama's leadership. The California Methodist Conference had sent Rev. Miyama to Hawaii in 1887 to minister to and comfort the exploited immigrant Japanese workers on the plantations. In the short span of two years, Rev. Miyama had stabilized the lives of the immigrant workers, organized the Japanese YMCA and the Women's Mutual Aid Society (the forerunner to today's Kuakini Medical Center), and evangelized Japanese immigrants through Bible classes and prayer meetings to form the first Japanese Christian Church in Hawaii.

For the next five years, the church struggled to survive through the devoted efforts of Miyama converts Kawasaki, Yasumori and Nishi. By 1894, it was strong enough to build its first wooden sanctuary on River Street named the "Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church." This church was tragically destroyed by the famous Chinatown Fire of 1899. But under the inspired leadership of Rev. Gennosuke Motokawa, the second Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church was built and dedicated on Easter Sunday 1904. For the next 20 years this "River Street Church" served as the dominant Christian mission serving Japanese immigrants in Honolulu. Under the successive ministerial leadership of Reverends Miura, Nakamura, Hirota and Komuro, the church began to develop an English-speaking membership in the growing congregation. The Sunday School served over 300 children from the neighboring area, requiring the church to seek larger, more modern facilities.

With support from the Hawaii Methodist Mission, a new church was built at the corner of Fort and Vineyard Streets. It was dedicated on February 21, 1926 and named "Harris Memorial Methodist Church" in honor of Bishop M.C. Harris. For the next 36 years up to 1962, "Harris Church" was served by a succession of ten ministers starting with Rev. Tokuji Komuro up to Rev. Shigeo Tanabe. The church survived the hardships of the Great Depression and World War II to gradually transition into a predominantly English-speaking congregation, exerting a strong influence on the youth of the largely immigrant neighborhood. During WorldWar II, the church's stature and influence grew within the local Japanese community as Buddhist and Shinto missions were closed down. The Church increased its missionary outreach to the urban community around it.

But in the early 1950s, the "golden years" of this church came to an end with notices from the government of three projects: the widening of Vineyard Street into a thoroughfare, the conversion of Fort Street into the Pali Highway, and the Urban Redevelopment Agency's so-called "slum clearance." These projects displaced Harris Church from its Fort and Vineyard location. Harris Church concurred with the urging of the National Methodist Church Conference to remain as a "downtown church to serve the inner city." It accepted the offer of the Urban Redevelopment Agency of a relocation site at the corner of Nuuanu Avenue and Vineyard Boulevard. The leadership of Rev. Shigeo Tanabe held the displaced church together for the next eight years as it worshiped in various temporary locations. During that time, the church raised $230,500 and built its present facility, which was dedicated on June 17, 1962.

Mission and outreach has been at the heart of Harris UMC. It supported other United Methodist Churches like Aldersgate, Trinity, and Pacific Islanders. To this day, Harris Church continues to make gifts to world disaster relief and local and overseas service projects. It also ministers through the Institute for Human Services' Soup Ministry, Aala Park Sandwich Ministry, Family Promise, and the Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) program. It shares its facilities with a Head Start Program (Parents and Children Together preschool), American Lung Association, Kokua Council Senior Citizens, Adoption Circle of Hawaii, Gamblers Annon, NAACP, and Interfaith Alliance. Harris is no longer simply "a Japanese Church." It now assumes the challenge of serving and sustaining a multi-racial congregation drawn from the whole island. It is a thriving inner city church effectively serving at the heart of the city of Honolulu.

If you are interested in applying for UM Historic Site status, please keep in mind that the effort to designate an Historic Site is not a casual one. The case for historicity, maintenance, and use must be well established. The General Commission on Archives and History counsels that the designation be bestowed sparingly, after careful investigation and research. Inquiry should be made into such pertinent factors as present ownership, maintenance, and accessibility for those who may wish to visit.

The commission further recommends that a painstaking effort be made to collect and preserve substantive proof of the site's history, such as books, pamphlets, maps, pastoral and church records, journals, letters, periodicals, photographs, and personal memorabilia. Copies of these materials should be deposited in the conference archives.

For more information and links to the guidelines and application, visit