UM Historical Society hosts consultant from ‘Cradle of American Methodism’

The United Methodist Historical Society of Arkansas on May 1 met jointly with the Commission on Archives and History of the Arkansas Conference and the United Methodist Museum of the Arkansas Conference for its Board Meeting and Luncheon/Annual Meeting at First United Methodist Church Little Rock. The speaker for the occasion was the Rev. Alfred T. (Fred) Day III, of Historic St. George’s UMC Philadelphia, which is housed in America’s oldest Methodist church building in continuous service and whose museum contains the most extensive collection of Wesleyan artifacts in the U.S.  
As a consultant and as a member of the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, Day made site visits to the United Methodist Archives at Hendrix College and to the United Methodist Museum of Arkansas, located in First UMC Little Rock. He also visited the John Wesley Prayer Room and the recently refurbished historic sanctuary at First UMC. 
In his follow-up report to the Historical Society, Day addressed the work of the Archives and the Museum, which is “to help us discover our Methodist DNA.” Not mere collections of moldy, dusty old stuff, the Archives and the Museum are “living things (not coffins) which tell who we are and what we do,” he said. “They shape the stories we have to tell and help bring people to some kind of ‘felt’ experience which plummets them into the love of God.” 
Day announced as new general secretary
Harrisburg Area Bishop Jeremiah Park, president of the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History, announced later in the month that the Rev. Alfred T. Day III, the speaker at the May 1 meeting in Little Rock, has been unanimously elected by the Commission to be its next general secretary. The announcement follows a national search to fill the position. Day will succeed Robert J. Williams, who is retiring after almost nine years in that role. It is expected that the transition will take effect as early as July.
Historical Society, Museum open to all
Anyone who is interested in studying and preserving the heritage of the various branches of the Methodist movement is welcome to participate in the activities of the UM Historical Society of Arkansas, visit the UM Museum of the Arkansas Conference, or use the resources at the UM Archives of the Arkansas Conference.  For additional information, please call Helen Guenter at 870-367-5982.  
ABOVE: The Rev. Fred Day, pastor of Historic St. George’s UMC Philadelphia and member of the General Commission on Archives and History of the UMC, is pictured above with Mabel Harris-Webb, long-time member of the UM Historical Society of Arkansas and founder of the John Wesley Prayer Room at First UMC Little Rock. The chalice they are holding, used in the service of Communion at the joint Board Meeting, is a replica of the chalice John Wesley sent to Francis Asbury in America about 1785, when Methodism became a denomination. The chalice is preserved at St. George’s UMC Philadelphia. PHOTO BY LESLEY ANDREWS