This Archive Scope of Collections is in essence the “whole” of Christian heritage, in various forms of media, and strives for a comprehensive collection in terms of all types of documents, records, and media. To go now to our collections, click here. Note: This site and Archive is still being developed. Thank you for your patience. Contact us for any questions, help, or submissions.
The “whole” of Christian heritage needs a brief explanation. There are dozens of various denominational archives currently in existence, plus hundreds of Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries that have archival materials. The ACA is certainly not making a claim on any or all of these archival materials. There are TONS of Christian legacies, stories, and documents that have not yet found their way into an archive. Many of the stories and legacies have not even been written yet! Because many people delay due to the busy-ness of life. They keep telling themselves, we need to get grandma or grandpa to tell their stories again and this time we will get an audio recording. But days, weeks, and months go by and it often becomes too late, their memory becomes forgetful or they pass away.
The ACA has the vision for a comprehensiveness to preserving the ‘whole’ of Christian heritage, and the existing institutional archives are islands in the sea of the whole Christian heritage. Practically speaking, ACA plans to fill in the many gaps in between the the various other archives.
Types of Records/Documents and Artifacts
- Personal Papers and Manuscripts
- Stories (individual, family, & congregational)
- Histories (individual, family, & congregational)
- Worship Service Bulletins (especially special services and programs)
- Bible teachings
- Committees/Councils/Congregational meeting Agendas and Minutes (particularly notable or historic occasions)
- Congregational Budgets
- Publicity/Ads/Announcements especially for special events, major productions, special programs, etc.
- Letters to key leaders
- Tracts, pamphlets, training materials, discipleship materials,
- Educational Class and Social Groups Albums, Newsletters
- Books (yes the Book as record/books are records too of information, speaking of non-fiction memoirs, autobiographies, biographies and other nonfiction books by Christian leaders, ministers, etc.)
- Tapes (cassettes, 8-track, etc.)
- Films of all types
- Computer discs
- Flash drives
- Electronic files (Word, PDF, JPG, PNG, etc.)
This archive will accept COPIES and will also accept ORIGINALS. Archives strives for original documents.
Contributor Types and Terms
Individuals who possess any record/document that they have the right to deposit or contribute to the All Christian Archive without getting permission from their church or another person.
A single local church or Messianic congregation assembly recognized as an incorporated religious organization.
Association of Churches, Assemblies, Fellowships, Circuits, Districts, Dioceses, Synods, Conferences, Denominations, and Para-Church Organizations:
A group of single local church assemblies associated either non-hierarchical or hierarchical.
Contribution Types and Copyright Statement
The All Christian Archive (ACA) is principally a ‘brick and mortar’ archive with real/tangible records and a plan to grow the digital archive. As a real archive, the two kinds of Deposits (contributions) are clearly established and maintained in the Collections of ACA:
- Deposits in which the depositors keep the ownership and all the copyrights but want to ACA to preserve in this facility deemed better for long-term preservation than the option that these individuals or congregations have (e.g. damp basements, hot attics, etc.), and
- Donations: the contributors bequeath to the ACA their records, etc. for permanent preservation. It is important to know that copyrights are not transferred, governed by the U.S. Copyright Law, but can be transferred if the donor desires to and has the right to do so. ACA does not expect nor desire for any copyrights to be transferred to the ACA. The ACA is in the business of preserving, not publishing and trying to profit off donors’ works.
Biblical Foundation for a Christian Archive
There is no one verse in the Bible that says, “Thus you shall establish a Church (or Christian) Archive. But through the Scriptures, facets of the same diamond of Christian heritage comes in glorious light, though we see dimly on this side of eternity. Here are some key verses, each bringing up a facet of this diamond:
The LORD said to Moses: “…according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain” (Ex. 25:40)
“…and you will find in the book of the records….” (Ezra 4:15b)
“Then Hilkiah the high priest said…’I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD’” (2 Kings 22:8)
“…only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21:27)
We know how important writing is. But it may not have occurred to many that after enlightenment, the next purpose to writing is PRESERVATION. And preservation necessarily means KEEPING the books/scrolls/documents, and this in turns necessarily means a good PLACE to preserve them. If this fascinates you, you will love to learn stories about the Cairo Geniza (Google it!)
The All Christian Archive abides by professional archival standards and strives for best practices in all we do. Rules that come out of standards for practices are for a reason. But a particular rule may not be best applied to a particular case. Every case, collection, and depositor is distinct, with unique needs. We must listen to the needs of our constituents and then apply the best professional practices for the case or situation.
This sometimes involves educating the depositors and prospective depositors. Not every piece of paper saved by a collector or “creator” will be deemed to be a record or document of “enduring value” to be preserved in perpetuity. We strive to educate, encourage, and coax depositors to carefully go through all the papers to cull out those records of enduring value, and
We begin with the starting presumption that every record, document, and artifact that is deposited in this Archive is of ‘enduring value’ to be preserved indefinitely. Therefore, we do not have Retention schedules, discarding or destroying certain records or kinds of records after so many months or years. We tell depositors to hold on to those and they should maintain the responsibility and if they desire to destroy after a certain period it is their prerogative.
It is the Archive’s responsibility to cull through deposited papers and are granted the delegated right to discard pieces that are deemed not to of enduring value. A good example of a type of document generally not of enduring value are common receipts (such as for food, gas, household hold expenses). But a receipt from the county clerk for the purchase of a piece of land where a Christian family lived on for some decades may be deemed of enduring value.
The Archive does not receive “dumps,” that is, drop-offs of boxes of files, records, etc. anonymously and even those with names/addresses on the boxes but who have not registered with the Archive and informed them of a Deposit. A Deposit Agreement form must be completed by EVERY depositor.