Synodical Archives Collection Development Statement
The historically-valuable records of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synods warrant careful and deliberate collection, storage, and accessibility. These records document the history of the church and its mission in the world. Consequently, they do not belong to any one person, but rather are the property of the synods themselves. This material may include predecessor district and synod records in paper form, as well as records in various audiovisual formats such as audio and/or video recordings, photographs, slides, negatives, museum artifacts, etc.
The purpose of this list of requested materials is to aid the synodical/regional archivist in collecting records of enduring historical value. It is not intended as a records management statement. Because each synod is different in structure and organization, and because varying governmental statutes apply, synods will need to develop specialized records management plans. The synodical/regional archivist should be consulted on questions regarding final disposition of records.
All of the records listed below are assumed to be non-current, i.e., not needed in the administration of synodical business. Synodical/regional archivists are responsible for the regular transfer of records to permanent storage in the archives.
Official Synod Records
- Published annual reports of the synod, including synod assembly materials such as pre-assembly reports, worship and ordination service materials, etc.
- Synod Council agendas, minutes, and exhibits.
- Agendas, minutes, and exhibits for synod boards and committees.
- Inserts from The Lutheran.
- Master list of congregations in the synod (printout and computer disc) received from the ELCA’s Office of the Secretary, Rosters and Statistics.
- Synod and antecedent financial records. Synodical counsel and auditor should be consulted for length of retention of financial records if synod office needs records older than standard seven-year cutoff. Generally, archives are only able to take aggregate financial data such as audits, budgets, and financial statements.
- Correspondence of bishop and assistants, and that of other officers, committees, and task forces on a selective basis.
Synod Records Involving Congregations
- Congregational histories, anniversary booklets, dedication booklets, sample bulletins and newsletters.
- Paper records of fully-dissolved congregations, not of those that have merged and whose records went to the responsible church. (See ELCA Policy on Disposition of Disbanded Congregation Records.)
- Copies of congregational statistical reports prepared for the ELCA’s Office of the Secretary.
Synod Records Involving Persons
Records Involving Related Ministries
- Records of the Regional Center for Mission. If there is more than one archives in a region, copies of certain items (e.g., minutes) may need to be kept in more than one place. It is important, however, to have one designated archives for the Regional Center for Mission.
- Correspondence and other records of ELCA personnel deployed to synods and regions.
- Records of Women of the ELCA synodical groups.
- Records of Lutheran Men in Mission Synodical groups.
- Records of defunct educational and charitable institutions.
- Records of defunct camps.
- Records of special synod-sponsored events, appeals, and short-term projects.
- Records of synod-sponsored ecumenical projects and events.
Compiled by ELCA Churchwide and Synodical/ Regional Archivists, October, 1990. Reaffirmed by ELCA Churchwide and Synodical/ Regional Archivists, March 23, 2007.