Disposition of Records of Disbanding Congregations
© You may copy this document for congregational use providing copyright is acknowledged. Revised April 2010. A version of this document, suitable for printing, is available
Procedures for transferring records to the Archives:
||Preserve Your History! |
Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are the sole owners of their records. The preservation of these records must be addressed properly when a congregation ceases to exist. Records of disbanded congregations are important for documenting the life of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and shall be incorporated into the archives of this church.
- After synodical officials have had the opportunity to close the affairs of the congregation, the records shall be transferred to the appropriate synodical or regional archives.
- Before you dispose of anything, contact your synodical or regional archivist for guidance regarding how to proceed with transferring your materials.
- A portion of the congregation’s remaining assets should be given to the archives to cover the cost of processing, cataloging, maintaining, and giving access to the legal and historical records, photographs, and other materials that represent the congregation’s history.
- Records of archival value that exist only in digital formats should be printed out for transfer to the archives.
- Whenever and wherever records of disbanded congregations are discovered, every effort should be made to place such records in the archives of this church.
It is presumed that any ELCA congregation formed by merger or consolidation will receive ownership of the records of each of its predecessor congregations and will be responsible for maintaining them.
Congregations leaving the ELCA may take their records with them. For future reference, maintain a record of the congregation’s decision to leave the ELCA in the synod office and in the archives of the synod or region.
All of the archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are open for those who wish to research the records of disbanded congregations.
These are the permanent records of your congregation’s history.
The history of your congregation will be preserved in records that have been maintained with care.
For additional assistance, see also these guidelines:
Active Records Management : Advice for Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Records Retention Schedule for Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Maintaining the Parish Register: Advice for Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Resources for Congregational Treasurers and Bookkeepers
A Brief Guide for Archives of Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Comparison of Microfilming and Digital Preservation Technologies
An Order for the Disposal of Bibles and other Respected Publications
[i] See the document Maintaining the Parish Register: Advice for Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
[ii] The ELCA Constitution (9.71.) and the Model Constitution for Congregations (*C7.01) address property issues regarding congregations that are no longer a part of this church. This policy relates only the disposition of records.)