A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Forward : Friday, April 22, 2005
April 22 2005 by Eugene B. Hager

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Forward : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Forward

By Eugene B. Hager
December 3, 2004

On several occasions our Conference has expressed the desire to have someone research and write its history. Mention of this can be found in the 1972 Minutes, page 7. And it appears as a motion in the Minutes for 1977, page 6. It was brought up at other times also. Nevertheless, no one completed the task. The nearest anyone came to doing it was Lewis Ludlum in his A Partial History and Interpretation of Associational Missions in North Carolina 1943-1973. This booklet dealt more with interpretation than with history. However, it preserved for us some of the thoughts and observations of those pioneers in associational work. I have quoted from it (see pages 9, 10, and 19) and referred to it at other times.

For many years I thought that if no one else did it, I would like to write the history after I retired. Two years ago I began researching and writing. Then, I had to put it aside for a while. About the time I resumed work on it this past spring, I was diagnosed with cancer. After recovering from surgery and radiation and chemotherapy, I began again knowing that I might only have a few months that I would be up to researching and writing. My goal was to get through the early years - at least to the seventies. I got down to 1980. Someone else will have to write a volume two or sequel beginning with 1980. There is an abundance of records from 1980 onward. The problem will be winnowing through them.

I have elected to cite sources "in paragraph" rather than in footnotes. It has always been annoying to me, when reading, to hold my place while trying to read the fine print of a footnote at the bottom of the page - or even worse - at the end of the chapter.

I regret very much not having the time to write brief biographical sketches of each associational missionary who has served in North Carolina. I have collected some clippings and information for that project. It will require a great deal of patience and time. Perhaps someone will take it as his or her chance to contribute to history. Another area that needs much fuller treatment than I have given in this history is the ministry to the military in North Carolina. Those who have not lived in an association with a large military installation cannot realize all that is involved and the great opportunity that it provides. Reading history is not the same as living it. A. Whitney Brown (in The Big Picture) said: "The past actually happened, but history is only what someone wrote down." Having joined the Conference in 1959, I have written as an eyewitness since that year. The most difficult part of my research was the period from 1942-1959. This is not just because it was "before my day," but also because records from that early period are scarce and fragmentary. In the 1970's I was able to talk with and ask questions of some of those who were serving in that earlier period - such as Lewis Ludlum, Elizabeth Campbell, and others. That has helped a lot. Someone has said that jumping to conclusions is not nearly as much exercise as digging for facts. How true, how true! Completing the work I have done under the constraint of time and having to stop at 1980, probably means that I should give it a title similar to the one Lewis Ludlum gave his - "A Partial and Incomplete History...." Nevertheless, I hope it will be helpful, enlightening, and inspirational to current and future associational missionaries who serve in North Carolina. My prayers and best wishes are extended to all of you.

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Eugene B. Hager | with 0 comments

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