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.
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.
|Record Type||Current Congregational Administrative Use||After Current Administrative Use period ends||Send to Central District Conference Archives|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to conduct research within the Central District Conference archival collections.