The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
This is Part 3 in a series on the role of oral history interviews in the life of the congregation.
In our first two blog posts, we looked at the importance of planning for a successful oral history project, including forming a committee and choosing interview subjects. That planning is now put to good use as we develop the guiding questions themselves. The questions below are intended for congregation members. Different questions would be asked of pastors, with more emphasis on the particular type of leadership that role requires.
Prior to the actual interview, it is important for the interviewer to “set the stage” by recording the name of the project and other basic, introductory information, e.g., “This is an oral history interview done on behalf of First Lutheran Church, Centertown, North Dakota. Today, April 6, 2019, I am talking with Jane Peterson in the library of First Lutheran Church. This is Todd Schmidt, the interviewer, speaking.”
At the conclusion of the interview it is important to thank the person for sharing their memories on behalf of the congregation. Their willingness to share their stories in this way is a gift to the church’s shared memory.
While the list above is not exhaustive, hopefully it’s a useful start. You will think of many more, I’m sure. Please contact me for additional questions as well.
The final column in this oral history series will be the next installment of “Ask the Archivist.” It will focus on the setting for the interview, helpful hints on how to conduct the interview itself as well as follow-up tasks after the interview is completed.
"Ask the Archivist" is written by Paul Daniels, archivist for ELCA Region 3. Daniels helps congregations preserve their history, maintain records, and celebrate their legacy. In "Ask the Archivist," he answers frequently asked questions about archiving. He works out of Luther Seminary in St. Paul and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.