Records have a life cycle moving from an active period through to an inactive period (the period when records are no longer being used). Congregations can do several things to help manage records throughout their lifecycle.
Congregations can form a small committee responsible for overseeing records management for the congregation. The committee should be responsible for
- recommending policy on all matters related to the management of records
- ensure that records are kept appropriately
- develop a records schedule for the congregation and ensure that it is followed
- oversee records disposition
The proper creation of records is also an important step in records management. The Conference Archivist has developed a Records Inspection Checklist to help congregations ensure that all the elements of the record are captured. In addition to the checklist, a Historic Roll Guideline Sheet and an Historic Roll FAQ Sheet is available for congregations. The following resources can also prove useful when creating records and developing a records schedule:
- Financial Handbook for Congregations, 2005
- Employment Guidelines for Lay Employees in Pastoral Charges and Other Church-Related Organizations, 2004
- Faith Footsteps: Screening Procedures for Positions of Trust and Authority in The United Church of Canada, 2000
The development of a records schedule will help congregation staff and volunteers maintain control over records. Sample Congregation Records Schedule can be found that can assist church staff and volunteers when it comes to determining what records need to be kept or destroyed.