Massachusetts Conference. Old Colony Ministerial Association. Records, 1827-1997
The Old Colony Ministerial Association was organized in 1827 "embracing the orthodox Congregational clergymen of New Bedford, Mass. and vicinity" (series II-A, folder 1). The original association covered the towns of Plymouth, Plympton, Middleboro, Carver, Berkley, Freetown, Dartmouth, New Bedford, New Haven, Rochester, Wareham and Martha's Vineyard; the organization consisted of ordained Congregational clergymen from these towns. Bylaws were repealed in 1849 and in 1920 the Old Colony Ministerial Association or Old Colony Association of Congregational Ministers dissolved. The organization transferred its funds to the Old Colony Association of Churches and Ministers; remaining members transferred their membership to this organization. In 1914 the Old Colony Ministers' Union was organized; by 1949 the organization began referring to itself as the Ministers' Union of Old Colony United Association of Congregational Christian Churches and Ministers in its minutes.
The Old Colony Conference of Churches was organized in 1856; the conference was to consist of the church pastor and two delegates for each of the churches connected with it and was to "promote Christian fellowship and activity" (series II-B, folder 1). Initially Congregational churches in Middleboro, Middleton, Lakeville, Marion, Mattapoisett, South Dartmouth, New Bedford and Fairhaven were active in the conference. Ca. 1890s the organization began referring to itself as the Old Colony Conference of Congregational Churches in its minutes.
Old Colony United Association of Congregational and Christian Churches was founded in 1930 from the previous Old Colony Conference of Congregational Churches; in 1970 this organization was renamed the Old Colony United Association of Congregational and Christian Churches and Ministers of the United Church of Christ. Old Colony Association, Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ extant in 1997; in 1997 the association included churches in Assonet, Attleboro, Attleboro Falls, South Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Fall River, Lakeville, Mansfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, New Bedford, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton and Wareham, Mass.
Scope and Content Note
The records were processed as one record group, since the organizations mentioned in the finding aid had a close relationship from the beginning of their history. An attempt was made to divide the series by organization, although the researcher should note that the aforementioned organizations were closely affiliated.
20th century annual reports contain reports from the moderator, Committee on Church and Ministry, Committee on Christian Education, Missions Committee, Women's Fellowship of Old Colony District, treasurer and Nominating Committee and a directory of churches and ministers; some years also contain reports from the Southeast Area Council, Committee on Church and Community, and Committee on Church and Mission. Early records of the scribe are likely to contain financial records, constitutions, bylaws, membership records and committee records; in the late 20th century, these records can be found in the annual reports.
Council records (including ordination, installation, recognition and dismissal councils) were maintained by the registrar and were originally housed in acidic binders, subdivided by divider tags. The original binder labels were preserved, as were the original dividers. These records contain information about ministers transferring in and out of the association.
|Series I. Old Colony Ministerial Association Records, 1827-1920|
|Series II. Old Colony Ministers' Union Financial Records, 1915-1936|
|Series III. Old Colony Association / Old Colony Conference Records, 1856-1996|
|Subseries A. Annual and Semi-Annual Reports, 1930-1996|
|Subseries B. Clerk / Registrar / Scribe|
|Subseries C. Treasurer|
|Subseries D. Committees and Departments|
|1. Massachusetts Congregational Laymen's Organization|
|2. Committee on Ministerial Standing|
|3. Church and Education Committee Interchange Newsletter|
|Subseries E. Old Colony Mission Sabbath School Secretary's Records, 1866-1867|
|Subseries F. Photographs and etchings|
|Subseries G. Miscellaneous|