Collaborative History: Editing Mayham

The fist Knox Church, ca. 1910

I’ve recently been working on an editing project that has me simultaneously enthralled and going a bit squirrely.  The project is a church history that highlights a congregation’s journey from 1862 to 2012.  As you might have guessed, the impious for this project is that 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the Church’s founding. 

Prior to this project beginning, a basic history of the church has been created for the Church’s centennial celebration.  So how did the congregation proceed? A heritage committee was established and numerous congregation members were assigned parts to research and write.  The current minister (who has been at the church since 1994) also undertook writing a substantial part of the more recent history.

Knox Church, 2010.

I think it’s great that the history is being written at all.  The history of a 150 year old congregation is a huge project and one which often doesn’t get undertaken unless there is a congregation member who is very passionate about it.  There are multiple building changes, a fire, and many community accomplishments to be looked at in the Church’s history.

However, editing a lengthy document that was written by between 5-10 people (all of who feel their information is crucial to the history) has been a learning experience.  Initially it felt as though I was handed drafts of ideas, snippets of previously written histories, paragraphs about church groups, and a pile of photographs.  After finding my way through all the material, I’ve managed to force things into a bit more of a coherent story line.  I’m now starting to look at more formal copy editing and eventually layout. 

I’m looking forward to this project’s continued development and eventual publication.  It’s a huge milestone for the Church and this history has the potential to be something that future congregations look back upon.