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Welcome to the North American Baptist Conference Heritage Commission.

This is your online connection to North American Baptist Conference-related materials and research services. The Heritage Commission exists to manage the archives, encourage the translation from German to English of key historical documents, and inform our members concerning significant happenings.

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About Us

We are a group of persons 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 North American Baptist Conference and their work. We pray that these real-life stories that demonstrate 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 1850’s, 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. Most materials until the 1920’s and some materials continuing into the 1970’s 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 which may be displayed. We respond to requests by e-mail and look forward to serving you.

The staff and volunteers collect and organize North American Baptist Conference-related materials, provide research services, manage the archives, encourage the translation from German to English of key historical documents, inform our members concerning significant happenings, as well as many other archive-related activities.

Our activities are under the direction of the NAB Heritage Commission Board of Governors.

What we Do

The Heritage Commission is committed to serving congregations and individual researchers. Staff and volunteers:

  • Collect and organize North American Baptist Conference-related materials;
  • 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.

 

Contact the Heritage Commission

nabarchives@nabconf.org or nabarchives@sfseminary.edu

2100 S Summit Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57105 or

(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, 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, professor of Missions and 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;
    • George W. Lang (1928 – 2015) and Jackie Howell (1938 – 2016) each served as director;
    • Darlene Frueh served as interim director from 2016 – 2018;
    • Randy Tschetter was appointed as director in April 2018 and Darlene Frueh as administrative assistant.

 

In 1993, Rev. Orville Meth became the first chairperson of the Board of Governors which met annually to give direction to the staff of the Heritage Commission. 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 North American Baptist Conference. The Board of Governors will now function as an advisory board to the Heritage Commission staff.