This year, the archives housed in the Virginia Synod office were packed away and transferred to The Crumley Archives located on the campus of LTSS in Columbia, South Carolina. The organization was created in response to the 1988 ELCA founding constitution, which called for the establishment of regional archives and the maintenance of congregation archives in each church. Today, they document and preserve the history of Lutheranism for Synods and congregations located in the South and Caribbean.
The Crumley Archives collection is one of the largest non-government archives located in South Carolina. It holds nearly 4,000 cubic feet of records related to southern and Caribbean Lutheran synods, churches, other institutions, ministers and church staff. In addition to paper records of manuscripts, reports, newspapers and other materials, the holdings contain microfilm, photographs, artifacts, and various audio, video, and digital media.
The archives hold materials from six centuries recorded in over 20 languages. Congregational records for some locations cover 13 generations of Lutherans worshiping in America. The collection includes some of the oldest memories of Lutheranism in North America. From the Virginia Synod, the Crumley Archive collection holds records dating as far back as 1820.
Maintaining the archives of the Lutheran church is an enormous undertaking, but an invaluable endeavor to protecting our history. Preserving our past allows us to bridge our past to the present and future, and the Virginia Synod office is thankful for the services the Crumley Archive provides. Archived records serve as a witness to the mission, and work of the church of past generations.
The Crumley Archives has a list of resources available to learn how to best preserve your church’s archives, an important practice for all congregations to know. Congregational archives stand with the other archives of the whole church as a resource for American Lutheran history and as evidence for the wider history of Christian life and mission in the world.