News Articles

Conference focuses on caring for SBC records & archives

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The first “Conference on the Status of Archives and Records in the Southern Baptist Convention” was held Oct. 4-5 at the Southern Baptist Convention Building in Nashville, Tenn. Hosting the conference was the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (SBHLA). Attending were representatives responsible for records and archives from nearly all the SBC agencies, plus some from colleges and state conventions.
Bill Sumners, SBHLA director and archivist, said the meeting was a first step in helping SBC agencies in the need to mange records efficiently and preserve archival materials.
Sherian Stone, records manager, and Edith Jeter, archivist, for the International Mission Board, outlined steps being taken at their agency to manage records and preserve archives. “We owe it to Southern Baptists,” Jeter said, “to preserve and make available to them information about what our Cooperative Program-supported agency is doing and has done to bring all the peoples of the world to saving faith in Jesus Christ.”
Stone said the IMB’s archives and records management section serves as the “memory” of the agency. What is “remembered” helps preserve an accurate history, supplies information for today’s decision-making by IMB management and keeps available information required by government regulatory agencies.
Elisabeth Wittman, director for archives and chief archivist for the Evangelical Lutheran Church, spoke on “Records Management and Archives for a Denomination.”
Sumners noted most Southern Baptist agencies fall far short of the International Mission Board’s standard when it comes to keeping records and archival materials. “Preserving this history of the Southern Baptist Convention will become even more difficult as record formats move from hard copy to electronic formats,” he said.
Conference participants supported the idea of a second conference, including additional people with record responsibilities at SBC entities. It may be held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Library Association meeting at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary next spring.
Attendees reported on what their agencies are doing — or are not doing — to preserve records and archives; toured the offices of the Historical Library and Archives and learned about the agency’s services available to them; and discussed the need to set up safeguards in the event of disasters such as storms, floods, earthquakes and domestic violence.

    About the Author

  • Leonard Hill