LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Historical Society – the national archive and research center of the Presbyterian Church USA, began 2004 with a campaign to increase its visibility and expedite its development.
The changes will follow the recommendations made in 2001 by a consulting team. The team called for changes in the PHS’s funds-development structure, development of a new operatons model, and a realignment of staff responsibilities. Both the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the Committee on Presbyterian Historical Society accepted the report three years ago, and has since implemented changes within the PHS.
This year, the task force will look specifically into two subject areas -- the society’s technology needs in a digital age, and a possible consolidation of PHS operations in Philadelphia. It now has facilities there and in Montreat, NC. The team will report its changes to COGA and the PHS governing board next fall.
The first meeting of the task force was on Jan. 7, in Louisville. Team members decided to gather public input at three locations: at Montreat during the task force’s next meeting, scheduled for April 16-17; in Philadelphia; and in Richmond, VA, during this year’s General Assembly.
“We’re looking forward to meeting with a variety of constituencies and discerning how PHS can best serve the denomination in the 21st century,” said Anne Bond, an elder from Denver who is the moderator of the Committee on the Presbyterian Historical Society and a co moderator of the task force with the Rev. Katherine Cunningham of Ridgewood, NJ, who also is the moderator of COGA.
Other members on the team include the Rev. Catherine Ulrich of Fort Smith, AR, representing COGA; Burnett Kelly of Midland, MI, representing CPSH; Walter Baker of Mound, MN, representing the General Assembly Council; and three at-large representatives — Jim Henderson of Montreat, the Rev. Richard Ray of Bristol, TN, and the Rev. Cliff Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the General Assembly. PHS Director Fred Heuser and Deputy Director Margery Sly are serving as staff.
According to its website, the PHS’ mission is to collect, preserve and share the history of the American Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. The society, created in 1852, also serves as a resource for scholars, genealogists and the public. Its collection shows how American Presbyterianism is woven into the culture, politics and history of the nation.