Home The Methodist Church of New Zealand

Brief guidelines for Methodist Parishes or organisations on creating, appraising and archiving records

Other repositories holding Methodist Church Parish records:

Hocken Collections

Contact: Anzac Ave/Parry Street
P O Box 56, Dunedin
Telephone: phone (03) 479 1100
Web: http://hakena.otago.ac.nz
Holds Methodist Church of New Zealand parish records for Otago and Southland.

Creating records

The types of record groups created by parishes or groups within the Methodist Church can include a variety of file types:

Subject files
Financial records
Publications including newsletters or bulletins
Annual reports
Constitutions, deeds and agreements
Historical memorabilia

At the time the files are created, it is a good idea to be clear about which files need to be kept permanently as an historical record of the parish’s activities. It is also helpful to use the same file titles and same filing system for computer files as well as paper records.

Create subject files with unambiguous names, rather than file all documents by year. File names can also include a note of what files should be kept permanently (i.e. archived) or discarded after a period of time.

Appraisal criteria for files

What should be archived or kept permanently?

Administrative value – is the record important for continuing administrative, financial or legal reasons?
Historical value – does the record have enduring value for its evidential or historical information, for example, are these founding documents?
Age – is the record important because of its age?
Uniqueness – is it the only surviving record, or salvaged from a disaster?

Keep permanently in most cases:
Account books associated with specific project/founding documents
Annual audited balance sheet
Annual reports
Architectural plans
Architectural specifications
Baptism registers
Cash books associated with specific project/founding documents
Celebration memorabilia e.g. programmes, invitations
Commemorative scrapbooks
Correspondence on special subjects
Cradle rolls
Jubilee records and memorabilia
Land stories
Ledgers associated with specific project/founding documents
Legal documents
Marriage registers
Membership rolls
Membership lists
Minutes/minute books
Newspaper cuttings
Orders of service – anniversaries or special occasions
Parish histories
Policy documents
Property files for historic properties
Publications published by the parish
Pulpit notices especially Christmas and Easter/special occasions
Subject files
Sunday School rolls

Discard in most cases:
Correspondence general and routine
Draft versions of documents
Pulpit notices
Visitor’s books (daily)
Prayer requests
Removal forms
Marriage license butts (unless register destroyed)
Unless it fits the appraisal criteria above, in which case keep the record
Some financial records have to be kept in case of audit by Inland Revenue Department

After 7 years discard:
Account books
Applications for funds or grants
Bank passbooks
Bank statements
Cash books
Cheque stubs or cheque books
Deposit slips
Ledgers (general)
Receipt books
Wages books
Send funeral service sheets to New Zealand Society of Genealogists

Methodist Church Archivist’s archival recommendations

Write on the outside of the file if it is to be archived and at what date, plus any special notes about its historical value – remember the Archives staff may not be aware of this.
Methodist Church of New Zealand Conference Archives Policy clearly states that records created by the Methodist Church are owned by the Methodist Church of New Zealand, and should not be placed in any other repository, other than those approved by the Church.
Transfer the records to be kept permanently in the Methodist Church of New Zealand Archives or designated repository, about every 5-7 years, not on a yearly basis. Contact the Archivist first, and include a list of the records or files you are transferring to the Archives with the documents.
Treasurers should retain all financial records (if required for tax purposes) for 7 years unless accounts are being processed by the Administration Division Accounts Section. Ensure the annual audited balance sheet is included in the minute book, or annual report. After 7 years destroy financial records that are not to be kept permanently.

Print out documents to be archived – the Methodist Archives currently has no facilities to store or access documents in an electronic format.
The Methodist Church of New Zealand Archives in holds district/parish/church archives. Otago and Southland district/parish/church records are preserved in the Hocken Collections, Dunedin.
All district or synod records should transferred to the Methodist Archives once they are ready to be archived.
Baptism and marriage registers should be transferred as soon as they are full. The Methodist Archives holds most baptism and marriage registers. Arrangements can be made for copies to be held by the Parish if necessary. Please let the Archivist know if registers have been included in any local indexing projects.

Details of holdings
Lists of parish records held in the Methodist Archives are posted on the Methodist Church website www.methodist.org.nz under Archives Collection. They are regularly updated.

Preservation of records in your care
It is best to keep any records held by your parish or organisation, in containers such as boxes. Acid-free folders and boxes can be purchased from Conservation Supplies www.conservationsupplies.co.nz

Please do not hesitate to telephone or email the Archivist if you are unsure about what to do, need advice on preservation, disaster preparedness planning or any other archives-related matters.

Recommended reading
Preserving our story. Keeping the archives of women’s organisations by Ellen Ellis, 1994.
Managing and preserving community archives, available free from the National Preservation Office, National Library of New Zealand, Box 1467, Wellington 6140. www.natlib.govt.nz