34. NATIONAL HISTORICAL REFERENCE COMMITTEE – FUTURE DIRECTIONS (National Historical Reference Committee)

That the Assembly

authorise the Standing Committee on the advice of the National Historical Reference Committee to disband the National Historical Reference Committee and facilitate the establishment of a network of UCA Archivists and a Uniting Church History Association.

Rationale:

It is clear that some aspects of the Mandate are the direct responsibility of the Assembly Archivist under the oversight of the General Secretary rather than the activity of the Committee. Other parts of the Mandate point towards interests that are more those of church historians that archivists. The tensions apparent in these two different areas of focus and the management and governance issues that they pose warrant attention. The Committee has spent considerable time considering these issues and has come to a view that the most useful configuration of relationships is to align the archivists with each other and to gather the persons engaged, or interested, in church history into another association.

This work has not been able to be completed in time for the meeting of the 14th Assembly but the current thinking is that it would be beneficial to the Synod archivists and the Assembly archivist will stay connected by the means of a network with the main purpose being that of collegiality and to talk through any concerns, issues or share collective wisdom. A national association of persons with an interest in church history that fosters and enables the church’s capacity to know and tell its story would seem to have merit. The specific roles, resourcing and “location” of these groups within the life of the UCA still needs to be negotiated before anything firm could be put in place. However the mind of the Committee is that such changes can and should happen in the next twelve months and so it brings a proposal that will authorise the Standing Committee to undertake any necessary steps to change the Mandate of the Committee and to reshape the way the history of the church is nurtured and supported.