Historical Society’s annual meeting includes planning, sharing

The Historical Society of the United Methodist Church of Arkansas gathered at First UMC Little Rock on April 16, 2016, for its annual luncheon and business meeting.

The program and short business session seek to help the society maintain “a ministry of memory,” the history of our movement as Methodists. One item announced was the formation of a group that will plan a bicentennial celebration in 2017 of the construction of the first Methodist church building in the state of Arkansas. Watch for announcements in the Arkansas United Methodist and on the Conference website.

The program this year consisted of historical reflections presented by Earl Carter, Chester Jones and Ed Matthews, who shared observations about their experiences in the church from their early years forward. Their stories included some humorous accounts from first appointments; ways the church was affected by the change allowing women to be a part of the ordained ministry; and the merger of the Southwest Conference with the prior Little Rock and North Arkansas Conferences. Questions were presented by Historical Society president the Rev. Ron Clark, with some comments from other attendees.

“Overall, it was a good recognition that some of our older congregants and clergy in local churches could be interviewed and video-taped as part of the process of keeping a good collection of the history of the church,” Clark said. “These tapes could be a great asset along with a local church’s written accounts, a carrying forward of early times of ‘oral history.’”

The meeting included election of new officers, with Joe Guenter of Monticello becoming the new Historical Society president.