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Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission: Church Anniversaries

How We Can Help You

As an agency of the Mississippi Baptist Convention the Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission (MBHC), is here to assist churches in researching their histories as well as preserving the state’s Baptist history.  Each year the MBHC recognizes churches celebrating significant anniversaries (100, 125, 150, 175,200) in three special ways—by providing an anniversary certificate and letter of commendation, by having a commission representative present the certificate at the church’s celebration, and by preparing a church’s history highlights. 

In order to participate in a church’s celebration, the MBHC must be contacted regarding the date of the event.

Check out the Church Anniversary Packet to start your planning!

Certificate and Letter

As part of the MBHC’s recognition of significant anniversaries each year, it prepares a special framed anniversary certificate and letter of commendation for the church.  The anniversary certificate contains the date of the anniversary celebration so the Commission needs this information before the certificate can be prepared.  A commission representative will present the framed certificate and read the letter of commendation to the church at the anniversary celebration if the church desires.  If your church has a specific individual (former pastor, associational missions director, etc.) that you would like to present the certificate or if the church  does not want presenter, the framed certificate and letter of commendation can be mailed directly to the church.  The Commission provides these services at no charge to the church.

 If you have requested that a Commission representative present the certificate, we must have the date of the church’s celebration no later than six weeks prior to the event.  We make every effort to have either one of the Historical Commission’s current or former trustees, present the certificate on the date of the celebration, but there are times when this is not possible due to their schedules.  If we are unable to secure one of the trustees, we will ask your associational missions director to present the certificate on our behalf.  You will be informed about who will be the representative, and then the church will need to make a personal contact with them to provide pertinent information such as the exact time of the presentation, directions to the church, etc.  

History Highlights

Another service that the MBHC provides to the significant anniversary churches, is compiling “History Highlights” of your church.  The “History Highlights” are a year-by-year compilation of data about the church, obtained by researching the available minutes of the associations with which the church was affiliated through the years, including….

  1. the date of organization, associational affiliation
  2. name of pastors and other church officers (clerk, treasurer, deacon chair, etc.)
  3. Messengers to the Association
  4. Membership and contribution data
  5. Other information as listed such as obituaries, ordinations, special events, etc.
  6. A list of articles that have appeared in The Baptist Record (The Historical Commission staff do not have the time to copy the articles for your church.  Someone must come and do this.)
  7. a list of what items are in the church’s folder 

It takes approximately two weeks to compile the “History Highlights” for each church.  The Highlights are usually fifteen to forty pages long, depending on the number of years the church has existed, the size of the church, and the information available in the associational minutes.  See pages 8-9 for a sample of the History Highlights.  In order to receive the History Highlights, we need to receive the date of your anniversary celebration, a minimum of three months prior to the event.  Priority for compiling the history highlights is given to churches who are celebrating in the current year and then to churches in the order we receive the request for the highlights.  Depending on the time of year the request is received, there may be five to ten History Highlights already waiting to be compiled.

Writing a Church History

When writing a church history consider using these materials and resources:

Church Materials

Church minutes
Financial records
Legal papers & records
Church publications (bulletins, newspapers)
Church ministry materials (WMU, VBS, GA/RA)
Deacon records
​Memorabilia (pulpits, paintings, offering plate)
​Cemetery records
​Annual church profile
​Baptism records
​Letters of recommendation/ request for letters

Other materials

Associational minutes
Local Newspapers
Baptist Record
State Convention Annuals


Correspondence/Journals /Oral Histories
      Oldest church members
      Former preachers
      Former church clerks
AMDs (past & present)
Local genealogy/history groups
Local Library
Local Courthouse