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Department of Archives and History of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Preparing a Chronology

Service Bulletin #2d

It is recommended that the congregational archivist maintain a chronology of the local parish by recording the most important events, both secular and religious. Such a record would be useful for the observance of anniversaries and to study the trends and developments of the parish.

In addition to the chronology, it is also recommended that the congregational archivist record in detail some of the more outstanding events of the congregation each year.

What Are Some of the Secular Events To Be Included?

    1. Local government, elections, transitions, death of leaders, etc.
    2. Notes on the erection of significant and highly important new buildings and facilities in the community.
    3. Catastrophes, crises and other events which materially affected the community and the parish, including earthquakes, tornadoes and other “natural” as well as social and political crises.
    4. Unusual weather developments, particularly if it affected the work of the parish and materially contributed to a stepping up or down of the parish’s program, worship services, etc.
    5. Significant changes taking place in the community’s schools and in other community institutions.
    6. Important and outstanding events affecting or conducted by other churches in the community.
    7. The health and welfare situation: public housing, social reform, epidemics, etc.
    8. Scientific, industrial and economic developments of general significance.
    9. Sports, popular entertainment, society and fashions, if significant.

What Are Some of the Religious Events To Be Included?

    1. Changes in congregational officers, including names and dates of transition.
    2. Calls extended to pastors and teachers, and notice of acceptance or rejection.
    3. Beginnings of, or milestones reached during, programs conducted by or participated in by the congregation (building programs, stewardship programs, and so on).
    4. Significant actions by voters assembly, program boards and church council.
    5. Occasions in the life of the congregation marked by special services (dedications, installations, ground breakings, confirmations and so on).
    6. Any “first” in the life of the congregation, also “last” in the life of the congregation.
    7. Statistical milestones achieved (most number of people ever gathered for one worship service, 500th baptism, day school enrollment at all time high, etc.).
    8. Purchase of major equipment or property by the congregation, as well as subsequent sale of same.
    9. Events in congregation’s educational ministry (graduation, opening of school, vacation bible school, staff changes, textbook purchases, etc.).
    10. Any events which will answer the questions “when did we start doing this?” or “when did we stop using that?” or “how long have we been doing this?” or “when did that happen?”

Copyright © 1998 Concordia Historical Institute, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, 63105
These bulletins may be freely reproduced & distributed, as long as the copyright, name, and address of the Institute are properly displayed.

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