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Established in 1968, the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) is a general agency of The United Methodist Church focused on promoting and preserving UMC history. Our expansive repository is located on the campus of Drew University in the United Methodist Archives & History Center in Madison, N.J.

We offer assistance to local churches and Annual Conferences through online courses, publications, workshops, research services, and other programs. The Commission maintains relationships with the five Jurisdictional Commissions on Archives and History, the Central Conferences, the World Methodist Historical Society, the World Methodist Council, the Historical Society of the UM Church, and the Charles Wesley Society.

We offer online courses, a podcast, and other resources to assist individuals, congregations, small groups, and others to better understand the heritage of United Methodism. We offer support to researchers and students through annual awards and grants. We support United Methodist Heritage Landmarks and Historic Sites.


The United Methodist Church is experiencing a historic turning point. We have emerged from recent challenges as a stronger, more connectional Church, with a renewed sense of love for our sisters and brothers.

Our Churches are reclaiming the history of what it means to be a United Methodist; one rooted in scripture, centered in Christ and united in the essentials.

As we experience this rich time in history together, let’s remember to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to care for God’s beloved community.

-Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

I am so appreciative of the resources offered by GCAH, the staff is extremely responsive, and helpful. I particularly like the new materials including the Local Church Historian School and :The Way of Wesley Workshop” confirmation course for youth ages 12-18 using comics and graphics.

-Carol L. Travis
African American Methodist Heritage Center, Inc
Member of Asbury UMC, Washington, DC.

Take one of the greatest history books ever written, the Bible, and the stories in it. Virtually everyone knows some of those historical stories, for example the parable of the Good Samaritan.

But what if Luke had never recorded it? What if we did not have that piece of history to guide us?

Could there be something likewise in your local church’s history? Not with the order of magnitude of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, but some piece, or many pieces, of your church’s history that can inform and inspire?

The General Commission on Archives and History’s Local Church Historians’ School can help you find those stories. And help you learn how to collect, preserve, and publish them so they can inform and inspire the church.

I know it has for churches in the Pacific Northwest as it has for many other churches across the Methodist connection.

So, I encourage you to not only look into, but to participate in the Local Church Historians’ School. We cannot apply the lessons of history if we do not know them.

-John Townsend, Pacific Northwest Conference

Participation on GCAH
My time as a board member on GCAH has been one of continuing to expand my understanding of the history of the UMC as well as the History of the Hispanic/Latin@ UMC. As part of a small group accountable and supported by GCAH we have been able to acquire some amazing oral history of our Hispanic/Latin@ UMC. The collegiality and work to ensure all of our UMC history has been vital to who I am as a United Methodist!

-Liz Lopez
GCAH board member, member of La Trinidad UMC, San Antonia, Texas