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Missionary Church Archives: Home

The Archives

The archives of the Missionary Church, as the memory center for records of historical significance, is a collection of the official papers of the denomination as well as materials relating to its origin and development. Its task is to organize and preserve these materials so they may be a valuable resource for reference and research.

Recognizing that the Missionary Church is the product of several merging denominations, the Historical Collections include materials relating to the roots from which the denomination has sprung, materials of groups that influenced the theology of the denomination, and materials relating to each of the merging and withdrawing bodies.

The Historical Collections collects and preserves materials relating to the following groups and time periods:

  • Anabaptist and Mennonite Churches (1500-1900)
  • Christian and Missionary Alliance (1875-1963)
  • Brethren in Christ Church (1800-1900)
  • Church of the United Brethren in Christ USA (1800- )

All materials relating to:

  • The Brethren in Christ of Ohio (River Brethren)/"Swankites"
  • The New Mennonites of Ontario
  • The Reformed Mennonites of Indiana and Ontario
  • The Evangelical Mennonites of Pennsylvania
  • The United Mennonites
  • The Evangelical United Mennonites
  • The Mennonite Brethren in Christ
  • The United Missionary Church
  • The "Egly Amish"
  • The Defenseless Mennonites/Evangelical Mennonites/Fellowship of Evangelical Churches
  • The Missionary Church Association

The archives collects and preserves materials in the following categories

  • The official papers of the denomination.
  • The official publications of the Missionary Church USA.
  • Local church publications.
  • The official papers of Missionary Church ministries in other countries.
  • The personal and professional papers of Missionary Church workers.
  • Official records of Missionary Church affiliated national church bodies.
  • Scrapbook materials/clippings that are historically relevant.
  • Non-print media such as photographs and recordings that are relevant.
  • Records of ancillary organizations related to the Missionary Church.

For Researchers

The archives are available for any researcher who wants to use them. However, the archives is only available on an appointment basis. To make an appointment, please contact Kevin Blowers (see below).

Request for Information

If you are looking for specific information or a specific document, please contact Clyde Root.  Dr. Root will also provide information on the possibility of photocopying documents.


The archives are located in the lower levels of the Bethel University Library. 

Available Resources

The archives does allow for the making of photocopies of materials. Photocopiers are located in the main library; however, copying will need to be done by library personnel. Please contact Kevin Blowers if photocopies are needed. The Gospel Banner is available on microfilm, and microfilm copies are free.

Gospel Banner Index

The archives does have an index of the Gospel Banner available, which was compiled by Jason Garnaat. It provides indexing for thousands of articles from its inception in 1878 until it ceased publication in 1969.

The index is available as a Microsoft Access file. Searches can be performed by title, author, date, notes, and subject heading. Requests for copies of the index on CD-Rom can be made. Assisted searches are provided. If you want a search of the Gospel Banner Index or a copy of the index, you may contact Kevin Blowers.

Missionary Church Archives: Digital Library

Search the holdings of the Missionary Church Archives Digital Library.  The Digital Library contains hundreds of scanned photographs as well as a variety of documents and other material related to the Missionary Church’s history.

Missionary Church Related Sites

Missionary Church Denominational Website

Missionary Church Directory

Taylor Fort Wayne Archive Vault

This online collection contains material related to Taylor University Fort Wayne and TUFW's precursors, Summit Christian College, Fort Wayne Bible College, Fort Wayne Bible Institute, Fort Wayne Bible Training School, and Bethany Bible Institute. Like Bethel University, Summit Christian College and its precursors was an institution of higher learning sponsored by the Missionary Church. Archives housed at Taylor University.

Online Resources

Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online

Directory of Mennonite and Related Church Historians and Committees

Merging and diverging streams : the colorful and complex history of the Missionary Church / Dennis D. Engbrecht (1999)


Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee and Archives

Christian & Missionary Alliance Archives

Brethren in Christ Historical Society

Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Bible Fellowship Church History Center

Do those old things have any value to anyone?

They are extremely valuable to researchers who rely on materials such as these to understand what our forefathers thought and did.

What should I do with them?

Send or take them to the Missionary Church Archives.

Where are the archives located?

The archives are in the lower level of the Bethel University Library.

How will these materials be handled in the archives?

They will be inventoried and stored in acid-free files and boxes to prevent further deterioration. They will be housed in a room where temperature and humidity are strictly controlled, and where they are protected from excessive light and heat. They will be made available to any qualified persons who wish to peruse them for their research.

Will these materials be lost to my family?

Not at all. Any of your family members may come to the archives at any time to read them. Minutes of business meetings of the church are more accurately the property of the denomination rather than of a family. In the archives, they will be preserved and made available for a wider audience than a single family, yet family members will never be excluded from their use.

How can I know if the archives wants my items?

Kevin Blowers will tell you if they should be housed in the archives. Some things that people think are trivial are actually quite valuable -- let the curator make that decision. In addition to minutes, many other things related to Missionary Church history are valuable.

Kevin Blowers

Kevin Blowers

Titles: Curator

Phone Numbers:
Work: 574.807.7220

Timothy Erdel

Timothy Erdel

Titles: Archivist & Theological Librarian


Phone Numbers:
Work: 574.807.7153

About the Missionary Church Historical Society

The Missionary Church Historical Society is an organization affiliated with the Missionary Church to help preserve its history and to stimulate interest in learning about the denomination's past. Dr. Wayne Gerber, then Dean of Bethel University, and other interested people, organized it in March 1979. It has operated continuously since then. Members of the historical society are men and women from all walks of life who are interested in the history of the Missionary Church. 

The purposes of the historical society are:

  • Gather the materials, documents, pictures, tapes, and artifacts of the Missionary Church and its antecedents.
  • Preserve the historical documents and make them freely available for study and display.
  • Encourage and sponsor research.
  • Publish and encourage the publication of literature dealing with Missionary Church history.
  • Promote interest in the history of the Missionary Church leading to a greater understanding of and appreciation for its heritage.

Membership in the historical society is open to any person who is interested in the purposes of the organization, and who is willing to pay an annual membership fee. The funds for operation are derived from membership dues and from gifts by outside organizations. Become a member.

Meetings are held two times each year, usually at a site in Indiana. The public is invited to the meetings where some business is transacted, but the greater amount of time is given to a speaker on a subject of interest to the historical society.

The official publication of the historical society is the journal, Reflections, which is printed two times a year. Each member receives a subscription to the journal as a part of the annual dues payment. The journal may be sent to churches, libraries, and other organizations by annual subscription.