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The Annual Conference

The commission should be an active part of its Annual Conference. Among the ways to emphasize archives and history in the Annual Conference are articles for the conference newspaper, a conference-wide writing contest, or a yearly award for the best local church history. When your Annual Conference selects a program or mission emphasis (such as evangelism), consider ways that the commission can participate. Be sure to publicize and report on heritage events, workshops, and publications through your conference communicators.

It is the commission’s duty to insure that Annual Conference leaders know about their responsibilities in the area of archival management and preservation. Some Annual Conference commissions write personal letters to District Superintendents and/or meet with them to review the appropriate disciplinary paragraphs.

History at the Annual Conference Session

Your commission should cooperate with the conference Program Committee to provide an historical hour or other programming on the history and heritage of United Methodism at each session. This responsibility is given to the Annual Conference commission in ¶641.1 of The Book of Discipline. This program may range from a few moments to a full dramatic or musical production at an evening session. Some commissions use this time to recognize persons marking a 25th or 50th year in the ordained ministry. Others honor churches celebrating significant anniversaries, or present grave markers (available from Cokesbury) to families of deceased clergy. The commission should anticipate major historical anniversaries several years in advance and prepare appropriate programming.

In some conferences, the commission shares responsibility for the memorial service for deceased clergy and their spouses. Special care should be given to this service. Families of the deceased should be encouraged to attend and be recognized appropriately. To recall and celebrate the service of persons in the past is to be aware of our heritage in a meaningful way.