We are a group of people dedicated to telling the story of God at work in the North American Baptist Conference. We collect, preserve, organize, display, and make available the records and artifacts of the people connected with the NAB. We pray that these real-life stories demonstrating the power of God and the modeling of His faithful people through the years will energize the ministries of North American Baptists today. If you have questions of a historical nature related to the NAB, please feel free to contact us.
Staff meet the information needs of churches and individuals by searching files for the desired information. Resources include directories and conference reports from every year since the 1850s, church anniversary books, complete sets of Der Sendbote and The Baptist Herald, and more than 700 boxes of print records. We are eager for more volunteer translators to facilitate translation work for materials in German since most materials until the 1920s and some materials continuing into the 1970s were written in German.
We are located in the lower level of Sioux Falls Seminary. We have space for archival boxes, print materials, and artifacts that may be displayed. We respond to requests by email and look forward to serving you.
The staff and volunteers collect and organize materials related to the NAB, provide research services, manage the archives, encourage the translation of key historical documents from German to English, inform our members concerning significant happenings, and many other archive-related activities.
What We Do
The Heritage Commission is committed to serving congregations and individual researchers. Staff and volunteers:
- Collect and organize materials related to the NAB.
- Assist congregations who request information about NAB churches, former pastors, or members – often for anniversary and/or genealogical purposes.
- Encourage translation of historical documents from German to English.
- Digitize documents such as The Baptist Herald to provide easier access to constituents.
- Provide access to archival holdings for researchers who visit the archives.
- Preserve and manage original records, pictures, and artifacts of NAB churches and organizations.
- Display museum items for public viewing.
- Publish the Heritage Horizons newsletter.
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
2100 S Summit Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
(605) 274-2702 or (605) 274-2731
History of the NAB Heritage Commission
The Heritage Commission was officially established by the North American Baptist Conference in 1991 for the purpose of developing a center to preserve, organize, and display the NAB’s history.
Through the years, even before the Heritage Commission was officially established, various individuals worked faithfully to preserve key documents and artifacts related to the ministry of the German Baptists who are now called North American Baptists:
- Albert Ramaker (1860–1946) served as dean of the German Department of the Rochester Theological Seminary in Rochester, New York. He was the historian and was deeply involved in the collection of historical materials
- George A. Dunger (1908–2002) was officially appointed conference archivist at the 1982 NAB Triennial Conference in Niagara Falls. He laid important groundwork for the organization and operation of the archives. He also served as a missionary in Cameroon and as a professor of Missions and a librarian at North American Baptist Seminary (now Sioux Falls Seminary).
- Others who have given leadership to the Heritage Commission include:
- Joyce Ringering (1932–1978), who worked alongside Dr. Dunger
- Reinhold Kerstan, John Siewert, Bee Westerman
- Heritage Commission Director George W. Lang (1928–2015)
- Heritage Commission Director Jackie Howell (1938–2016)
- Darlene Frueh, interim director 2016–2018
- Randy Tschetter, director as of April 2018, with Darlene Frueh serving as administrative assistant
In 1993, Rev. Orville Meth became the first chairperson of the Heritage Commission Board of Governors, which met annually to give direction to the staff. Other board chairs include:
- Ernie Zimbelman
- Janelle Beck
- Ben Engbrecht
- Marv Dewey
- Tim Heerts
In 2018, the Heritage Commission became a ministry partner of the NAB. The Board of Governors will now function as an advisory board to the Heritage Commission staff.