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Archives & Special Collections: Central District Conference archives, MCUSA

The homepage for the Archives and Special Collections department of Musselman Library.

Overview

Bluffton University and Musselman Library serve as the official repository for the Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA and its member congregations. The CDC Archives is housed on the Archives & Special Collections floor of Musselman Library.

The CDC Archives works in partnership with the Central District Conference Historian.  

Beginning May 1, 2017, finding aids for CDC Archives collections are being added to the OhioLINK EAD Finding Aid Repository.  Check the progress of that project here.

What should my congregation send to the archives?

Congregational records take many forms. Some types of congregational records should be kept locally, either because they have current administrative use or because they are valuable as a permanent local record.  Some types of congregational records and or copies of them can be considered for transfer to the conference archives.  Use the chart below as a guideline for considering the retention, transfer, or disposal of congregational records.  Always consult with the conference or denominational archivist if you have questions.

Records retention guidelines

Record Type Current Congregational Administrative Use After Current Administrative Use period ends Send to Central District Conference Archives
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION --------------- --------------- ---------------
Annual Reports 5 years Keep local copy permanently Send a copy every year
Congregational meeting minutes   5 years Keep local copy permanently Send a copy every year
Council/Deacon/Elder/Committee minutes 5 years Keep local copy permanently Send a copy every year
Correspondence/Files for pastors, officers, and committees 3 years Keep local copy permanently Send batch every 5 years
Ancillary program records (Youth, Sunday School, etc) 3 years Keep local copy permanently Send batch every 5 years
PUBLICATIONS --------------- --------------- ---------------
Bulletins 2 years Keep local copy permanently Send a full set every year
Newsletters 2 years Keep local copy permanently Send a full set every year
Membership directories/yearbooks until replaced Keep local copy permanently Send as published
Outreach pamphlets or brochures until replaced Keep local copy permanently Send as published
Congregational histories until revised Keep local copy permanently Send as written
FINANCIAL RECORDS  --------------- --------------- ---------------
Treasurer's Annual Reports 5 years Keep local copy permanently Send a copy every year
Annual General Ledgers 3 years Keep local copy permanently Do not send
Tax Returns 7 years Keep local copy permanently Do not send
Bank Statements 7 years Destroy Do not send
Canceled checks 7 years Destroy Do not send
Deposit slips 7 years Destroy Do not send
Donation records 7 years Keep local copy permanently, but restrict access Do not send
Invoices or Receipts 7 years Destroy Do not send
Payroll records 7 years Destroy  
FACILITY RECORDS --------------- --------------- ---------------
Property Deeds As long as property is owned Keep local copy permanently Do not send
Architectural drawings As long as property is owned Transfer to new property owner Do not send
ORGANIZATIONAL RECORDS --------------- --------------- ---------------
Incorporation documents Until legally reorganized Keep local copy permanently Do not send
Constitution and Bylaws Until revised Keep local copy permanently Send whenever revised
Membership records Until revised Keep local copy permanently Send batch every 5 years

How should I prepare records for transfer to the Archives?

Sending copies of congregational records to the archives does not have to be a large effort.  Consider keeping a separate "CDC Archives" file to collect documents for transfer, and instruct committees and others who create records to place an extra copy in the file whenever they generate a document.  You may mail the contents of that file to the CDC archives once a year (or more often, depending on your administrative workflow).  You may also arrange to have these materials delivered by a courier visiting Bluffton personally.  

When preparing documents for your Archives file, use paperclips instead of staples whenever possible if papers must be fastened together.  All metal fasteners are removed from documents as they are processed for archival storage, and paperclips are less damaging to documents.  Archives staff will use archival-safe Plasti-Klip fasteners if metal fasteners need to be replaced; these are available from many office supply vendors, if you would like to use them.

Librarian Info

Research in the CDC Archives

Materials from the CDC Archives can be made available to researchers by advance appointment with Carrie Phillips, Archives & Special Collections Librarian.  Please call 419-358-3275 or email phillipsc@bluffton.edu to arrange a time to conduct research within the Central District Conference archival collections.