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First Things, October 2015

October 1, 2015
This summer I finally tackled our church archives. We had saved several dozens of boxes. Helping on the project were Walter Roessner, Mitch Eisenberg, Jean Torre, Arline Dillman and Duane Dillman.
We discovered a lot of material we didn’t actually need to save. Old financial records. Multiple copies of songsheets for songs that we already have in the hymnals. Waldemar Hille seems to have saved every piece of paper he ever touched!
But we also have a lot of wonderful items that tell our church history. People like Assistant Ministers, Lewis McGee and Hyun Hwan Kim, Hugh Hardyman, Anna Louise Strong. Programs like the Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus and UU Project Los Angeles. Groups like the Fellowship for Social Justice.
We also have dozens of reel-to-reel recordings of worship services and other events. We will need to decide how much of this we need to keep and then transfer them to a digital media we could play today. It would be great to hear Steve Fritchman’s voice!
We have the orders of service for every Sunday going back decades. And many sermons. The congregation used to publish a “sermon of the month,” and we have those. Today, we don’t produce an order of service, although I do keep a record of every Sunday program. I post my sermons on my website. It makes you wonder what an archive will look like for future generations.
We’ve gone from several dozen boxes down to just a couple of dozen. The material is sorted into categories. Our important history is now much more accessible and secure for anyone eager to tell our story.
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