NASHVILLE (BP) — The 2017 SBC Annual of the Southern Baptist Convention 2017 Phoenix meeting is available for download and text search at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (SBHLA) website, sbhla.org.
The 2017 edition joins annuals archived at SBHLA dating back to the SBC’s 1845 inception. The SBC Annuals are a ready access to a wealth of SBC history and news, including meeting proceedings, entity reports, statistics, sermons, state convention information, and lists of staff, trustees and committees, said SBHLA director Taffey Hall.
“The SBC Annuals are a basic starting point for researching the historical issues and activities of the SBC. Having these resources available digitally greatly enhances accessibility,” Hall told Baptist Press in written comments. “Anyone from anywhere can view and keyword search the annual proceedings from 1845-present online.
“Historians, pastors, denominational workers, and really anyone interested in learning about the past activities of the Southern Baptist Convention will find the online availability of the annuals useful,” Hall said.
John L. Yeats, who has prepared and/or reviewed every SBC Annual since 1998 in his official capacity of SBC recording secretary, described the annuals as records of “testimony about God at work through Southern Baptists. God has done and continues to do great things among Southern Baptists.”
Yeats appreciates the online and printed issues of the SBC Annuals.
“Rarely a month goes by that I don’t whip out my SBC Annual to check on a data point or to discover a potential open seat on an SBC Board or Commission,” said Yeats, who also serves as executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. “Once I find that information I try to nominate a faithful cooperating Southern Baptist for service.
“While one can go online and retrieve so much information about our Southern Baptist past,” Yeats said, “the actual (SBHLA) archives are staffed with servants who will help you” research Southern Baptist life.
The online archive has been available since 2011 through a cooperative project of the SBHLA, the SBC Executive Committee and Baylor University.
“We like to work on cooperative projects with other libraries whenever we can,” Hall told BP.
D. August (Augie) Boto, executive vice president and general counsel of the SBC Executive Committee (EC), described the collaborative project.
“In 2010 the SBC’s Historical Library and Archives, and staff at the Baylor University Library, collaborated to combine their SBC Annual collections to make two complete digital sets,” Boto told BP. “Baylor contributed technical assistance by supplying automated readers and optical character recognition software. The SBHLA supplied use permission and volumes to fill out voids in Baylor’s collection. Additionally, each party to the arrangement agreed to resupply the other with a complete replacement set in the event of a future calamitous loss.”
The complete set of SBC Annuals is also available through Baylor’s Internet collections, Boto said. The university is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
The EC holds copyright to all issues in all formats of the annuals and proceedings, as stated in the volumes. To view the 2017 SBC Annual and earlier years, log onto sbhla.org  and type SBC Annual into the site’s search engine.