In advance of 2007 observances of the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Colony and the beginning of a permanent Anglican presence in the Americas, the perspectives and scholarship of skilled historians and archivists offer rich resources within the Episcopal Church.
The observances are featured in a series of parish bulletin inserts currently in use by congregations and offered through the Episcopal News Service. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_79411_ENG_HTM.htm
A significant conference of these historians and archivists is planned for June 24-27, 2007, in Williamsburg, Virginia, concurrent with observances of the Jamestown 400-year milestone. (Further information may be obtained through contact links listed below.)
Leaders among these experts include the Historiographer of the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Dr. J. Robert Wright, professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, and the Episcopal Church's canonical archivist and director of archives, Mark J. Duffy.
The importance of this work is captured in the words of Episcopal Church Historical Society President Frederica Harris Thompsett, as quoted on the Web site of the Episcopal Women's History Project: "Through our memories we can convert understanding of past events into insight that illuminates our future."
Historical Society of the Episcopal Church
President: Dr. Fredrica Harris Thompsett,
Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
[Source: HSEC] Founded in 1910 in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church furthers understanding of church history through research, conferences, archival preservation programs, and publication. The Society is a voluntary organization for people who are engaged in researching and preserving church history and for those who enjoy reading that history. The Society serves the Episcopal Church by adding historical perspective to contemporary discussions of theological significance.
Known as the Church Historical Society until 1976, the Society has implemented its constitution and its mission by publishing, since 1932, the Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Since 1987 this journal has been entitled Anglican and Episcopal History, reflecting its expanded, internationalized scope and editorial board. A subscription to this quarterly journal is included as one of the benefits of membership in the Society. During the past decade, the Society has sponsored a monograph series, Studies in Anglican History, published by the University of Illinois Press. Seven volumes of that series are now in print, and more are forthcoming.
The Society works in close partnerships with sister organizations such as the Archives of the Episcopal Church, the National Episcopal Historians and Archivists (NEHA), the Episcopal Women's History Project (EWHP), and the office of the Historiographer of the Episcopal Church.
Since 1999 the Society has co-published with NEHA a newsletter, "The Historiographer." The Society holds an annual membership meeting, which every three years is held concurrently with a church history conference cosponsored with NEHA and EWHP. At those conferences, historians present the results of their research in panel sessions to an audience of members of the Society as well as nonmembers.
The National Episcopal Historians and Archivists (NEHA)
President: Willis Moore
Diocese of Hawaii
[Source: NEHA] The National Episcopal Historians and Archivists (NEHA) formally the National Episcopal Historians Association, began in 1961 as an outgrowth of the Church Historical Society. The founders felt that an organization was needed that would promote archival and historical information collection for congregations, dioceses, and institutional archivists as well as historiographers and registrars.
Since its first meeting at The University of the South, NEHA provided a forum for the exchange of information and ideas about the collection of records. It began with manual support for its members with workshops and training in collection techniques presented in an annual meeting.
Under the leadership of Dr. Arthur Ben Chitty the association launched a newsletter that later became the publication known as The Historiographer. Through this communication tool NEHA has come to defend its role as an archival and historical professional society for those who participate actively in preserving and exploring the historical dimensions of The Episcopal Church.
In 1999, the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church became the co-sponsor of The Historiographer.
Episcopal Women's History Project
President: Dr. Joan R. Gundersen
Diocese of Pittsburgh
[Source: EWHP] Begun on faith and the proverbial shoestring, The Episcopal Women's History Project was organized in 1980 by a handful of dedicated Episcopal Churchwomen in New York City. Formed to raise the consciousness and conscience of the Episcopal Church to the historic contributions of its women, EWHP began, and has continued to gather the life stories of Episcopal Churchwomen who have served God faithfully and selflessly. It has inventoried written source materials, gathered oral histories, published a lively newsletter, supported research, given grants, and encouraged interest at all levels through conferences and workshops.
EWHP is an independent organization entirely supported by voluntary contributions.
African American Episcopal Historical Collection
(located at the Virginia Theological Seminary)
[Source: VTS] In 2003 the African American Episcopal Historical Collection was established at the VTS Archives as a joint project with the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church. Through documents, institutional records, oral histories, personal papers, and photographs, the collection documents the experience of African American Episcopalians in the United States. Individual collections document the experience of African American Episcopalians and contain significant references to religious faith and involvement in the Episcopal Church, particularly at the regional, diocesan, or local level.
Donations of appropriate archival materials from African American individuals and/or organizations working with African Americans in the Episcopal Church are encouraged. All donations are documented by a Deed of Gift transferring full title to the Historical Collection. For further information, on donating material contact Julia Randle at 703-461-1850. Monetary donations may be sent to Virginia Theological Seminary, 3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304, earmarked for the African American Episcopal Historical Collection.
The Archives of the Episcopal Church
(located in Austin, Texas)
Director: Mark J. Duffy
[Source: Archives] The Archives of The Episcopal Church is the official repository for records created by and about the Episcopal Church, related Anglican bodies, and individual Episcopalians. Its mission is to preserve and make available documentary evidence of the ongoing life and work of the Church and to offer a useful information service to its leadership, its members and to the general public. The Archives serves the broader mission of the Church by using its resources to support individual ministry, community life, and the corporate vitality of the institutional Church.
In pursuit of this goal, the Archives actively documents all aspects of mission and ministry, lay and ordained. Its purpose is to create a permanent and useful resource on the witness of this community and the activities that have defined the Episcopal and Anglican experience in America and in world mission. The Archives aims to support the understanding of all inquirers who seek to access the past, whether to inform an institutional perspective, to seek an individual appreciation, or to promote the historical dimension of Episcopal and Anglican tradition.
The Archives is authorized by the General Convention and is administered by the Board of the Archives as provided by Canon Title I.5.