As I've moved into parishes and become acquainted with people, especially as I've begun to plan for that congregation's future, I've found it especially important to know and appreciate the congregation's past,
The history of a congregation is no more real to most church members than a list of names were to the little girl in the old joke. She saw the names of military personnel on a bronze memorial plaque and asked her mother, "Who are all those people?"
"Why, they are members of our church who died in the service," the mother replied.
"Which one," asked the daughter, "8:00 or 10:30?"
We may briefly study the history of our faith and perhaps the life of a denomination, but for many members, a church's history amounts to who ran last year's church fair. For others, it's the last congregational crisis, which they would just as soon forget. For some, history is the row of dusty board minutes squashed in stationery-store binders on a neglected shelf, or a list of faceless clergy, ...1