The Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR) at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists recently released the first volume of its newest publication, the Journal of Adventist Archives.
According to ASTR director David Trim, the journal was produced in hopes of revitalizing “Adventist archival practice and historical scholarship.” Until now, the Seventh-day Adventist Church did not have such a journal dedicated to historical research. The Journal of Adventist Archives isintended to provide Adventist scholars with an incentive to produce historical scholarship and a place to publish their work and preserve it for others around the world.
The peer-reviewed journal, the first of its kind in the church, was established to allow the Adventist Church to become rooted in its historical foundation by allowing for deep historical analysis, Trim said. He emphasized that in Ellen White’s famous quote, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history,” she is making a call for historical scholarship, rather than simply calling for historical memory.
In the long term, ASTR hopes the journal will play a prominent role in the Adventist historical and archival landscape. Adventist archivists, manuscript librarians, records managers, historians, and religious studies scholars are invited to become a part of the Journal of Adventist Archives community. In addition, the journal’s editor, Roy Kline, is seeking authors and volunteers to submit articles and notes for publication, to serve on the journal advisory board, and act as peer reviewers.
In addition to the newly released journal, ASTR is home to other resources such as the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook and Annual Statistical Report, an onsite Adventist Heritage Collection, the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists(ESDA), and online collections of historical Adventist photographs, periodicals, and books on numerous topics, including the Adventist Pioneer History series, and a myriad other historical documents.
ASTR also publishes a quarterly newsletter called Telling the Story. The newsletter serves to share Adventist heritage and typically features stories of Adventist history and mission; rare photographs from the past; and church statistics and research findings in the present.
Since its inception in 1975, ASTR has not only been dedicated to compiling and maintaining records and statistics for the world church and the North American Division, but it also maintains a research center and library. According to its website, the office is committed to preserving Adventist heritage and identity and telling the denomination’s story to the world.
ASTR is located in the world headquarters building of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. Through the new Journal of Adventist Archives, Trim said, the editors “look forward to sharing good archival practice from archives and records centers around the world.” And, he added, “by improving archival practice, we will also help with the task of capturing, commemorating, understanding, and celebrating our [Adventist] past.”