As historians, archivists, and church and mission leaders from around the world, we gathered in Goshen, Indiana (USA), from June 17-19, 2019 for a symposium convened by the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism. Together for the first time, we gained a new recognition of each other as allies in the effort of preserving the sources behind our stories.
As a group, we affirm the following:
- As followers of Jesus Christ our history connects us, reminds us of the Spirit’s activity among us, and calls us forward into the future.
- The task of telling and preserving our stories is urgent because of the deterioration of records and the loss of oral memory.
- We share rich resources: a deep commitment, vision, and desire to promote preservation and access; a wide variety of technical skills and expertise; imagination and creativity; broad networks and established relationships; individual spheres of influence; records, stories and experienced storytellers; human, institutional, and financial resources
- Archives play a crucial role in helping us to understand the inseparability of the stories of church and mission.
- Equitable access to sources is necessary because we share the ownership of our stories. We recognize the various significant barriers to preservation and access: borders; financial constraints; language; limited skills in preparation and the management of historical resources; lack of information; difficulty of international collaboration; restrictions on access by those in power; institutional weaknesses and lack of commitment
We commit to the following:
- To foster habits of preservation throughout the global Anabaptist-Mennonite community.
- To look for new ways to deepen our collaboration across continents.
- To engage in new and continued efforts to preserve sources and to promote access.
- To nurture enthusiasm within our communities for the tasks of collecting sources and sharing stories.
- To make space for diverse narratives that are well-researched, well-sourced, and justly told.
- To mitigate the barriers of language.
- To encourage our leaders to dedicate resources for institutional support for this task.
- To encourage the continued writing, rewriting, and publishing of the history of the church.
We call on our leaders to support us in these commitments.