The Historical Society of the Church of God (Anderson) exists to encourage the collection and preservation of artifacts and documents relating to the history of the Church of God; to encourage historical research and writing of Church of God history; and to provide a forum for like-minded people interested in participating in and furthering the study of Church of God (Anderson) history.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF THE CHURCH OF GOD (ANDERSON)
A Brief Historical Overview, 2000-2010
By D.E. Welch, June 2011
– In the early Summer of the last year of the twentieth century, or 2000 A.D., Robert Reardon and
Merle Strege, National Historian of the Church of God (who is appointed by the General Assembly),
came to the Archives and sat down in my office to discuss the formation of a Historical Society of
the Church of God (Anderson), a ‘voluntary organization,’ Church of God in its constituency and
focus, but accountable only to its own members. I was informed that I would be the Secretary-
Treasurer and publisher of a regular newsletter. The purpose of the Society, I was told, was to assist
the Director of Archives in collecting and preserving documents and photos of historical importance
to the Church of God, helping to inspire interest in Church of God history, and encouraging and
facilitating new research which could lead to the publication of books and other literature.
– Later that Summer, a group of persons with interest in Church of God history (who numbered
about twenty five or more) were invited as guests of Robert Reardon for lunch at the Anderson
Country Club, where such a Society was established. The first Newsletter (for that was what it was
called in the beginning) was published, then, in the Fall of 2000 A.D. (The name was changed about
two years later to Church of God Historian.) Merle Strege became President by virtue of his
‘national’ office; David Markle, who was then teaching Church of God History at Warner Pacific
College, served for four years as Vice-President; and Wilfred Jordan served as Editor of the
newsletter for nearly four years.
– In 2004, Dale Stultz was appointed as Vice-President of the Society. Due to illness, Douglas Welch
resigned as Secretary-Treasurer in the Summer of 2004, but continued to serve as Acting Secretary-
Treasurer until the election of Sadie Evans in the Annual Meeting of 2006. Merle Strege had
assumed the role of Editor of the newsletter in 2004, but called upon Douglas Welch to serve as
Managing Editor and Publisher, a role in which he still continues.
– Other than the Church of God Historian, the Society has published two major books, The Book of
Noah in 2007 and Old Main in 2008, collected an enormous number of documents and photographs,
and generated a great deal of interest in Church of God history, not just in North America,
but in England and Europe as well. In the process, we have had nearly three-hundred people join us.
Robert Reardon, who was the inspirational force behind this Society, would be pleased at our
accomplishments and our impact–but not that we do not yet have the thousand members he predicted
we would have (and should have, in his view, in a Church as dynamic as ours).
– In addition to the collection of documents, photos, books, and other literature, and the publication
of these two books, in 2004 the Society erected a memorial monument in East Maplewood Cemetery
on the grave of Charles W. Naylor (a $4,500 project) and in 2006 moved the Barney Warner cabin
from Springfield Camp Ground to the Anderson University Campus (a $15,000 project). The Cabin
now serves as a gathering place and display center for the Historical Society.