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archives society of alberta
March 1997    Volume 16 Number 4


submitted by Jane Bowe McCarthy

On January 1, 1997, the Alberta and Northwest Conference of the United church appointed Jane Bowe McCarthy as their new Conference Archivist. Jane hopes to build on the solid foundation already established for the conference Archives by her predecessor, Keith Stotyn, who in his capacity as the Provincial Archives liaison to Alberta and Northwest Conference also functioned as the Conference Archivist from 1988 to 1996. The Conference Archives also benefited from the services of Bonnie Motyka, who was appointed the Conference Contract Archivist from 1995 to 1996.

The Alberta and Northwest Conference Archives holds approximately 200 metres of records dating from 1853 to the present, and consists of records of the conference, its presbyteries and congregations, as well as records of the three denominations which united to form the church in 1925: the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational Churches. Records include minutes of church courts, annual congregational meetings, and committees; baptism, marriage, burial, and membership registers, historic and communion rolls, annual reports, financial statements, reports and records generated by church committees, correspondence, biographical information, and photographs. A guide to the holdings was published in 1991. To date, the Conference Archives has focused mainly on appraising records, accepting deposits, arranging and describing holdings, providing storage and making records available through the Private Manuscripts Program at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

The decision by the Alberta and Northwest Conference to appoint its own archivist marks a significant turning point in the development of the conference Archives. In addition ton being responsible for the established archival functions traditionally undertaken by the Provincial Archives, the Conference Archivist will also be undertaking new initiatives aimed at developing a full archival program. The Conference Archivist is also responsible for raising the profile of the Archives within the Alberta and Northwest Conference, its presbyteries and congregations; preservation of archival records; conducting education and information workshops for church members who are responsible for the care and maintenance of church records; developing a volunteer programme; assisting and advising the Conference's Historic Sites and Archives Committee; representing the Conference Archives at the General Council Committee on Archives and History and participating in its work; and maintaining liaison with the Provincial Archives of Alberta, the Archives Society of Alberta, and other appropriate professional and related associations.

Jane is available on a part-time basis at the Provincial Archives on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (or by appointment on other days).